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Best Broadcasts of 1938-39 



Best Broadcasts 

of 1938-39 



Selected and Edited by 



MAX WYLIE 



Director of Script and Continuity, 
Columbia Broadcasting System; 
Lecturer, New York University 
Radio Workshop 



WITH A FOREWORD BY 



NEVILLE MILLER 

President, National Association 
of Broadcasters 



LiUUUULfiJLSUULOJUUULILSLOJLOJL^ 

New York WHITTLESEY HOUSE London 



McGRAW-HILL BOOK COMPANY, INC. 



Copyright, 1939, by the McGraw-Hill Book Company, Inc. 



All rights reserved. This book, or parts thereof, may not be 
reproduced in any form without permission of the publishers. 



SECOND FEUmNC 



PUBLISHED BY WHITTLESEY HOUSE 
A division of the McGraw-Hill Book Company, Inc. 



Printed in the United States of America by the Maple Press Co., York, Pa. 



Preface 



SLSLaSJLSLSLSLSLSiSLSLaJiSLSLSL&JLSLiL^^ 

I T IS indeed ironical that fifteen years of scheduled broad- 
casting have left so little behind them in the way of 
permanent record. The first dignified and respectable 
anthology of radio material appeared only a few months 
ago. It was a collection of fourteen dramas produced by the 
Columbia Workshop, selected and edited for publication by 
Douglas Coulter, Associate Director of Broadcasts of the 
Columbia Broadcasting System. This book was carefully 
prepared, and it truthfully represents the best efforts of 
one of America’s outstanding radio institutions. It is dis- 
tinguished also for its unusual readability and great variety 
of mood, and it is not likely to be surpassed in its special 
class for many years. The book is concerned with the pres- 
entation of dramatic material only. 

In compiling the Best Broadcasts of 1938-39, it has been 
my intention to offer to the public for the first time a col- 
lection of superior programs representing all the major 
subdivisions in which the written word and the spoken 
word express themselves over the air. It will perhaps be 
charged that the classifications into which this volume falls 
are arbitrarily arrived at. This is partly true. The circum- 
stance springs from the inescapable fact that what I con- 
sider to be the significant piece and the significant depart- 
ment might be considered by some other critic to be without 
significance. In this regard the book will have to speak for 
itself. Beyond saying that I believe this effort to be a true 
cross section of radio enterprise as we know it today, I shall 
bring no other defense to the selections that make it up. 

The preparation of this work was a matter of sixteen 
months of reading. It was, of course, impossible to read 
or to hear every show originating in this country during the 
period covered by the book, but over six thousand indi- 
vidual properties were examined. Thirty-two have been 
reprinted. The experience was a considerable chore because 



V 



PREFA CE 



it was necessary to eat so much stale popcorn before finding 
a prize. But the findings compensated for the search, and 
if the following pages bring to the reader the conviction 
that I hold myself — that there is much in radio that 
deserves to be perpetuated in print— that in itself will be 
sufficient reward for anything this collection may have 
cost in lost week ends and lonely nights. 

The scarcity of the good radio script is something that is 
known and understood by most professional broadcasters, 
but laymen so frequently ask why radio plays aren’t better 
than they are that the question may as well be answered 
here quickly and simply. Radio scripts aren’t written by 
the best writers. That is why they aren’t better than they 
are. There is a great deal of bad writing in American radio 
(as there is in radio all over the world), but this fact 
reflects neither shame upon nor lack of interest in the 
industry, for radio is in the business of pleasing multitudes 
a great part of the time, and multitudes prefer the banal 
and the inferior to the beautiful and the superior. The 
great mass of mankind is not congenitally appreciative; the 
average person is not discriminating. Good things bore him 
or embarass him because he cannot comprehend them. He 
cannot grow into a preferred acceptance of excellence with- 
out a corresponding growth in himself, and this kind of 
growth happens usually through application and study. Few 
are sufficiently searching and critical to discover for them- 
selves those things of enduring value. 

This argument is not offered in defense of broadcast 
policies. I do not believe that the existing policies in net- 
work broadcasting require much defense, and I say this 
because radio policy derives from the will of the listener and 
never from the caprice of executives. Executives merely 
put into operation the code of prohibitions and preferences 
created by public interest. 

I have stated, however, that in radio much time is spent 
in transmitting banal entertainment, and no group would 
be quicker to acknowledge this fact than the broadcasters 
themselves. Now — if radio felt that its public responsibility 
had been discharged with the satisfying of all the poor 
taste in America, then it would be and should be subject to 



VI 



PREFA CE 



censure. I do not need to point out to the reader that this 
is not true or to enumerate the many fine things to be heard 
daily in every part of the country. At the same time there 
is a persistent complaint that the literature of radio is 
pretty junky and that somebody ought to do something 
about it. Since this is precisely the problem to which I 
devote all my time and energy, I should like to state a 
simple, ineluctable fact that the detractors of radio have 
not bothered to notice. If these critics of radio literature 
would stop rifling at radio and, instead, send a load of bird 
shot into the general region of the entire literary migration, 
they would bring down a couple of trophies worth stuffing 
for a more unhurried study. 

The over-all view will, of course, reveal that most radio 
literature is tripe. But here is an item that is hard to get 
around ; the over-all view of any field of writing will reveal 
that most of its literature is tripe. A hundred and seventy- 
four plays were produced in Greater New York last year. 
Most of them failed ; most of them were tripe. Most movies 
are tripe; most novels are tripe; most stories are tripe. 
So is most poetry. This is not alarming. Or if it is, literature 
has been in an alarming state since Josephus. 

Although I believe this to be true, it would be the rankest 
sort of tergiversation to excuse radio’s literary delinquency 
on the grounds that others were equally delinquent, and I 
haven’t any intention of doing so. Radio is quite as aware 
of the problem of the good script as is the publisher of 
fiction, the director of motion pictures, or the producer of 
plays. We all want the same thing; the best possible 
property ; we all accept the same thing : the best obtainable. 

But radio does have script problems peculiar to itself. 
The problem of impermanence is one. The problem of 
money is another. The problem of delivering regularly and 
quickly is still another. And a fourth — which is gradually 
disappearing — is this unfortunate and undeserved stigma: 
radio does not as yet enjoy a respectable place in the per- 
sonal opinion of a large proportion of America’s first-class 
writers. Many writers whose services have been hopefully 
invited by radio people have turned down the invitation 
cuttingly and with scorn. Most of this response is due to 

vii 



PREFA CE 



their own ignorance of what is going on in the business; 
some of it is due to fear; and a little of it, to their disinclina- 
tion to work for less money than they are in the habit of 
getting and, at the same time, to work in a medium they 
consider unfamiliar. 

I have sympathy with some of the reservations that 
certain writers feel in regard to radio. If a writer is writing 
solely to make money and if he is making a great deal, one 
can understand his not wanting to be bothered with radio 
writing. Similarly, if a writer is writing for the purpose of 
creating a great body of work and of enjoying the attendant 
prestige that this will someday afford him, one can under- 
stand this attitude, too. Such a writer’s radio work will 
die with the program’s sign-off. The impermanence of the 
work and the anonymity of the writer represent two of the 
greatest handicaps of radio in attracting established 
writers to the industry. A third handicap is the demand of 
radio for frequent and uninterrupted output. To work any 
writer beyond his capacity for normal output is certain to 
emasculate his powers. All writers are in a sense wells of 
inventiveness, and their creative flow is in most cases 
measurable, predictable, and constant. To force this flow 
beyond its natural rate of production adulterates it. Sludge 
comes up, not oil. 

Alexander Woollcott has been writing everyday for thirty 
years, but radio drained him dry, and he had to take time 
out to refill. In Mr. Woollcott’s defense — not that he needs 
any — it should be added that it took radio nearly three 
years to empty him. Channing Pollock, “dean of American 
playwrights,” undertook a weekly one-hour original. It 
nearly killed him. “It’s over half of a full-length play,” he 
said. “It takes me six months to write a play.” There you 
have it. These two men, both of front-rank prominence 
in their respective fields, both of them craftsmen with the 
most exacting habits of work, were finally pinioned by radio, 
the most regular and voracious consumer of material in the 
world’s history of entertainment. Woollcott and Pollock 
are in no way exceptions. Both of them have fine contribu- 
tions to make in radio. They have already done so — Wooll- 
cott especially — and will again. But they can’t turn it on 

viii 



PREFA CE 



forever and at will. Nobody can. Radio has to wait for the 
good thing. 

I hope this book will do something toward removing from 
the darkness of anonymity a few names that have every 
right to be known. I hope it will also do something toward 
preserving written material that has every right to be 
preserved long after its last syllable has been pronounced 
by an actor. I should like to say here, too, that radio today 
is sufficiently flexible to take the work of the best workmen 
whenever they can find time to write for us. This means 
that the true craftsman can ignore the enervating insistence 
of dead lines; that he can work according to his own humor; 
that he can work in his own time. After all, it is the writer 
who matters most, for it is he who provides functions for 
all the others who make up a show. None can have existence 
without him. He alone creates; the rest are translators, 
interpreters, transmitters, imitators; surely something less 
than inventors. Most acting is a domestic science; little of 
it is creative. Acting can exist only after something else 
already living, and acting is important only in so far as it 
reveals the meaning in the material it activates. As all 
broadcasters know, to wait for good material is a chancy 
assignment, but even so, such attendance has had its 
gratifications, and I have set them down here as I have 
found them. 

Waiting for the good thing has brought to the American 
radio audience much that is rich and beautiful, much that 
is exciting, and much that deserves equal rank with the 
best of present-day work in any field. Radio has delivered 
fine work by Wilbur Daniel Steele, Maxwell Anderson, 
Carl Sandburg, William Saroyan, Dorothy Parker, J. P. 
Marquand, Stephen Vincent Benet, William Rose Benet, 
Lord Dunsany, Albert Maltz, William March, Percival 
Wilde, Edwin Cranberry, Carl Carmer, Marc Connelly, 
T. S. Stribling, Paul Green, Zora Neal Hurston, DuBose 
Heyward, Hendrick Van Loon, Hamlin Garland, Robert 
Frost, Phil Stong, Ernest Hemingway, James Gould Coz- 
zens, Hilaire Belloc, Eric Knight, Pare Lorentz, T. S. 
Eliot, Sutton Vane, Frank O’Connor, Richard Connell, 
Stanley Young, Mary Ellen Chase, Evelyn Waugh, and a 

ix 



PREFA CE 



great many more I can’t remember. I hope that this list 
will indicate to some extent the exploratory enterprise of 
the industry as well as the conscientiousness with which the 
pursuit of good material is being prosecuted. This pursuit 
will continue as long as radio enterprise endures. 

There are other aspects and other values to be mentioned. 
The service rendered by American broadcasters is so regular 
and so varied that most listeners are spoiled by its excel- 
lence. In America, radio actually amounts to the most 
hopeful symbol of democracy on earth today. It is human, 
newsy, informative, and disciplined; it is codified but not 
regimented; it is robust but not stiff. It is, in short, the 
great parabolic reflector of the needs and emotions of a 
great people, and it will change exactly and immediately 
with changes in these needs and emotions. Vague people in 
lofty offices don’t run American radio. It is run by its 
listening public. That is its guarantee of service; that is its 
promise of improvement; that is its degree of permanence. 

As I write these few pages of introduction, something of 
the pandemic power of the industry is carried to my ears 
by a portable set that sits under a striped umbrella thirty 
yards down the beach on a lonely scree of scrub and sand 
dune somewhere south of Cape Cod. Yesterday morning 
for many hours the stretched voice of Hitler bruised the 
atmosphere with another broadside of his inane insanities 
and insane inanities. This morning the voice is an English 
voice, composed, tired, almost perfunctory. Is it war we 
hear declared or the momentary postponement of war? 
Whatever the news may be, it is shooting into every state 
in this nation simultaneously with its reception here, and 
it is revealing honestly and continuosly the truth of what 
is happening. The technique in news coverage of the 
Czechoslovakian crisis over a year ago will not only be 
duplicated but improved upon with the coming of a new 
international upheaval, and the American public will 
receive, hour by hour, more accurate reports of world 
affairs than any people in the world. 

The arrangement of the programs reprinted in this 
anthology has sought to departmentalize material, sui 



X 



PREFA CE 



generis, whenever such grouping seemed sensible and 
appropriate, but generally no great emphasis has been 
placed upon sequence. The book contains properties of 
every sort, and the order in which they have been set down 
has been determined by reasons of variety and of contrast 
in theme, length, and mood. There is one conspicuous 
omission in this collection. There is no Charlie McCarthy 
sketch. I very much wanted to include the “Oliver Twist” 
spot — probably the funniest single piece of nonsense of the 
past year — but it was impossible to clear the material. A 
few other properties — mainly local educational programs 
of merit — could not be incorporated because of page 
restrictions. However, the book represents American radio 
in its widest ranges, and I hope it will bring enjoyment to 
the lay reader. 

I trust, too, that educators whose energies are being 
used in this same medium will find something here that is 
instructive. Perhaps the now famous quotation of President 
Robert M. Hutchinsof the University of Chicago will become 
obsolete. Two years ago before the National Conference 
on Educational Broadcasting he said, “The trouble with 
educational broadcasting is that the programs are no good.” 
The statement was disputed by very few. In a dozen words 
he had completely expressed an opinion entertained by 
over a hundred million listeners. Many of the programs 
are still no good. Some aren’t so bad as they were, and a 
few are excellent. The educational field is stiU the most 
expansive unexplored territory of radio, and, through 
cooperation between professional broadcasters and 
America’s teachers, it will be in this field that radio’s next 
great advances will be made. I hbpe it will soon be possible 
to tell Mr. Hutchins that the condition of educational 
broadcasting is not a chronic headache but merely a 
momentary migraine. 

Max Wylie. 






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Contents 



JLSLSiSLSLSLSLJLSLSLJLkJULSLSiSLJULSiSLSiSiSLSiS^^ 

PREFACE V 

FOREWORD by Neville Miller, President, National Associ- 
ation of Broadcasters xvii 

BEST SHORT STORY ADAPTATION (comedy): “Sur- 
prise for the Boys ” 3 

By Herbert Lewis; adapted for radio by Victor Smith 

BEST SHORT STORY ADAPTATION (serious) : “ A Trip 

to Czardis” 22 

By Edwin Cranberry; adapted for radio by Elizabeth and James 
Hart 

BEST ONE-ACT PLAY ADAPTATION: “Blood of the 

Martyrs” 43 

A one-act play by Percival Wilde; based on a short story by Stephen 
Vincent Ben6t; radio adaptation by Donald Macfarlane 

BEST QUIZ SHOW : Information Please 69 

BEST HUMAN INTEREST SHOW: We the People. . . 88 

BEST VARIETY SHOW: The Kate Smith Hour 96 

BEST NEWS COMMENTARY (ad lib): “Czech Crisis”. 123 
By H. V. Kaltenborn 

BEST NEWS COMMENTARY (prepared) “The Situation 

in Europe” 130 

By Raymond Gram Swing 

BEST NEWS DRAMATIZATION: The March of Time. . 137 

BEST TALK 155 

By Jan Masaryk 

BEST ROUND TABLE DISCUSSION (rehearsed, ad 

libbed) :“ Crisis in Coal ” 160 

From The University of Chicago Round Table 

xiii 



CONTENTS 



BEST PUBLIC DISCUSSION (impromptu) What Caused 

the Depression?” 174 

From The People’s Platform 

BEST PUBLIC DISCUSSION (prepared): ‘‘How Can 

Government and Business Work Together ?” 189 

From America’s Town Meeting of the Air 

BEST COMEDY SHOW: Town Hall Tonight 212 

By Fred Allen 

BEST HORROR SHOW: ‘‘The Lighthouse Keepers”. . . 244 
By Paul Cloquemin 

BEST ENGLISH LITERATURE SHOW: ‘‘The Story of 

John Milton” 263 

From Adventure in Reading by Helen Walpole and Margaret Leaf 

BEST CHILDREN’S SHOW (Script): ‘‘The Nuremburg 

Stove” 282 

From Let’s Pretend by Nila Mack 

BEST CHILDREN’S EDUCATIONAL PROGRAM: 

‘‘ New Horizons” 301 

By Hans Christian Adamson from The American School of the Air 

BEST CHILDREN’S SHOW (script and music): ‘‘Alice in 

W onderland ” 321 

From Ireene Wicker’s Music Plays by Ireene Wicker 

BEST ORIGINAL SKETCH: ‘‘The Twilight Shore” ... 340 
By Milton Geiger 

BEST HISTORICAL DRAMA: ‘‘Peter Stuyvesant”. . . 350 

By Will McMorrow from The Cavalcade of America 

BEST MELODRAMA: ‘‘The Eddie Doll Case” 367 

From Gang Busters 

BEST DRAMATIC MONOLOGUE: ‘‘The Steel Worker”. 386 
By Arch Oboler 

BEST ORIGINAL PLAY (commercial) : ‘‘Expert Opinion”. 391 
By True Boardman from The Silver Theatre 

BEST INTERMISSION TALK 416 

By Deems Taylor, Philharmonic Symphony Society of New York 



XIV 



CONTENTS 



BEST SPOT NEWS REPORTING: “Squalus Disaster”. 425 

By Jack Knell 

BEST OCCUPATIONAL SHOW: “Sandhogs” 429 

From Americans at Work by Margaret Lewerth 

BEST DOCUMENTARY SHOW: “No Help Wanted”. . 448 

By William N. Robson 

BEST UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT SHOW: “We 

Become a Nation” 473 

From What Price America by Bernard Schoenfeld 

BEST VERSE EXPERIMENT: “Seems Radio Is Here to 

Stay” 499 

By Norman Corwin 

BEST VERSE DRAMA: “Air Raid” 521 

By Archibald MacLeish 

BEST CLASSIC PLAY ADAPTATION: “The Trojan 

Women” 546 

Translated from the original Greek of Euripides by Edith Hamilton; 
radio adaptation by Harry MacFayden. From Great Plays 



XV 



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Foreword 



JLJULOJUULJLOJLJL5LOJL5L!LOJUUU^^ 

T he collection of broadcasts here presented will bring 
forcibly to the lay reader an acceptance of the known but 
neglected fact that in its daily service to the public radio is 
constantly producing material not only amazing in its 
scope but rich and various in its literature. Max Wylie’s 
selection of the Best Broadcasts of 1938-39 is a timely, 
sensible, and truthful representation of the industry’s 
output in the range of its interests and the quality of its 
workmanship. 

Every accepted type and form of broadcast has been 
included from the best talk to the best variety program, and 
each appears in its uncut “as broadcast’’ version. In length 
these vary from a few minutes to a full hour. But it is the 
sharp juxtaposition of contrasting themes that compels 
and sustains the reader’s interest. One moves from the 
elucidating remarks of Raymond Gram Swing on the post- 
Munich situation to the curling metaphors of MacLeish’s 
poetry; from an eye-witness description of the rescue of the 
Squalus survivors to the jostling nonsense of Fred Allen’s 
Town Hall. The book is by turns sober and exciting, fanciful 
and realistic, an authentic reflection of the mood and pur- 
pose of contemporary broadcasting in America. 

That there is so much good writing in radio today will 
surprise many of the readers of this volume. That it has 
here been set down permanently for the pleasure of the 
average reader and for the critical attention of the student 
of the techniques of the industry is one of the happiest 
contributions in many years to the health of broadcast 
enterprise. I feel confident that the anthology of broadcasts 
will establish itself as a regular annual collection and take 
its proper place beside its cousins of the stage and the 
short story. During the past twenty years radio has deliv- 
ered to America’s loud-speakers many hundreds of superior 



xvtt 



FOREWORD 



properties that are now forever lost to the public. With the 
appearance of the Best Broadcasts of 1938-39 there is 
assurance that the good things of radio have found and will 
continue to find the perpetuation they rightly merit. As 
one impartially concerned with the freedom of the medium, 
the improvement of its skills, and the health of its future, 
the present volume is to me both gratifying and prophetic. 

Neville Miller, 
President, National Association 
of Broadcasters. 



xvnt 



Best Broadcasts of 1938-39 



BEST SHORT STORY ADAPTATION 
(COMEDY) 



JLOJULOJLOJULJLSLOJLOJLILOJLSL^^ 

<<QURPRiSE for the Boys” has been selected for reprinting 
O not only for the comic excellence of the story itself but 
for the strong evidence of technical mastery in every scene 
of the adaptation. The basic idea of the story is simple; a 
dour and colorless convict, awaiting execution at Sing Sing, 
cheats the chair by telling his executioners that he has just 
swallowed a small cylinder of fulminate of mercury which 
will blow up the entire jail the instant an electric current 
passes through his body. 

The comedy situations created by the author (Herbert 
Lewis, in Esquire Magazine) were considerable; but for 
successful conversion to radio the task of performing the 
complete story in dialogue, of keeping clearly before the 
listener the identity of fast scenes as they shift back and 
forth between the death house and the city room of a news- 
paper, of alternating scenes described and scenes drama- 
tized, of maintaining suspense and of steadily accelerating 
pace — this task has also been considerable. From the point 
of view of broadcasting, the brilliance with which this has 
been effected marks the adapter, Victor Smith, as an ex- 
tremely competent professional in this field. 

“Surprise for the Boys” was heard over station WOR 
and the Mutual Network on Sunday, March 6, 1938, from 
8:00 to 8:30 p.M. It was the first in a series of short story 
adaptations conceived, arranged, and presented by the 
Radio Division of the WPA Federal Theatre Project under 
the personal supervision of Leslie Evan Roberts, director 
of the Federal Theatre Radio Division in New York. 



Surprise for the 




by Herbert Lewis 
Adapted for radio by Victor Smith 



3 



Surprise for the Boys* 

<UUUL«LJJULlLiLiUUULfl.>ULOJULOJLfiJ^^ 

(Open cold on mike) 

Sound. — Jiggling of telephone hook. 

Fallow. — {Impatiently) Hello! Hello! Hello! . . . operator! 

Operator. — (O n filtered mike) This is the operator. 

Direction. — All following speeches except Fallow's on filtered 
mike until otherwise indicated. 

Fallow. — I’ ve been cut off, operator. I was talkin’ to the 
Journal city desk. 

Operator. — {Formally) I will try to get your party. , . . 
Sound. — Clicking of plugging in and out. 

Operator. — H ere is your party. 

Fallow. — H ello! Hello . . . Brady! This is Fallow again. I 
was cut off. 

Brady. — Y ou weren’t cut off, Fallow. I hung up. I told you we 
don’t want it. . . . We can’t use it. 

Fallow. — W hat do you mean you don’t want it? Am I your 
state prison correspondent or ain’t I ? 

Brady. — O f course you are. Fallow. . . . Sure you are. You 
can shoot the story in to the day side tomorrow. 

Fallow. — O h, so it’s the run-aroimd. The day city desk tells 
me to give it to you at night, and now you tell me to give 
it to them tomorrow. Well, it won’t be news tomorrow. 
The guy’s dyin’ right now. 

Brady. — B ut I tell you the story’s not worth . . . 

Fallow. — ^L isten, Brady. ... I been your state prison man for 
23 years, and I never once missed phonin’ in a bumin’. 
Not once. 

* Copyright, 1938, by Esquire Magazine. 

4 



SURPRISE FOR THE BOYS 



Brady. — I know, Fallow . . . but even as an execution this one 
doesn’t rate. Besides, we’re already protected. A.P. is 
covering. 

Fallow. — I know A. P.’s covering. I'm A.P. up here. I’m A.P., 
U.P., I.N.S., N.A.N.A., and the Jewish Telegraphic Agency. 
I’m even Nippon Dempo when there’s a good Jap angle. 

Brady. — Then you’ll be supplying the story anyway ... as 
part of the regular service. Why should we pay you when 
we’re paying A.P. and they're paying you? 

Fallow. — How do you expect me to make both ends meet if 
you don’t give me a break on burnings? I got a wife and 
three kids. I don’t expect to phone in a Damon Runyon 
story. I just wanna make my usual five slugs. What the 
devil’s the newspaper business coming to if a guy can’t 
make five slugs out of a burning any more ? 

Brady. — If you want the truth. Fallow, the yam’s not worth 
five. . . . It’s a piece of tripe. 

Fallow. — It ain't a piece of tripe. The guy’s a hiiman being, 
ain’t he ? Is that a nice way to talk about a human being ? 

Brady. — Any murder that was worth only two paragraphs 
when it was fresh is still a piece of tripe, for my money. 

Fallow. — Say. . . . This guy got more than two paragraphs 
the day he killed his landlord in Chemicville. It was a big 
story up there. 

Brady. — Well ... it was just an item to us. Forget it. 

Fallow. — You talk like I was tryin’ to sell you a stink bomb. 
Everybody who knows me knows Pete Fallow doesn’t 
do business that way. This story’s got a lot of swell angles. 
F’rinstance, the guy . . . 

Brady. — Wait a minute! Did you have these phone charges 
reversed ? 

Fallow. — What do you think I am, a millionaire? I got a wife 

and . . . 

Brady. — Never mind. . . . I’ve got to show something for 
these phone charges. . . . Give the story to Stewart on 
rewrite . . . and make it snappy ! 



5 



BEST BROADCASTS OF 1938-39 

Fallow. — O.K., O.K., I’ll make it snappy. Just switch me over. 

Sound. — Clicking of telephone receiver . . . circuit plugged in. 

Operator. — Yes, please? 

Brady. — Operator, transfer this call to Stewart on the rewrite 
desk. 

Operator. — Thank you. 

Sound. — Buzz of ringing . . . click of lifted receiver. 

Stewart. — Hello. 

Fallow. — Stew ? 

Stewart. — Right. Who’s this? 

Fallow . — Fallow. 

Stewart. — Hi. How’s the wife and kids ? 

Fallow. — All doing nicely. 

Stewart. — What’s on your mind ? 

Fallow. — I’m callin’ from the state prison. Execution. Ready? 

Stewart. — Go ahead. Shoot. 

Fallow. — Say, Stew, don’t tell Brady, but just between you 
and me this is the biggest hunk o’ limburger I ever phoned 
in in my 23 years as state prison correspondent. All I want 
is a couple o’ paragraphs so I can make my fin. Honest, 
I don’t know what the execution business is cornin’ to when 
they bum guys like this. I’ve wracked my brains, but I 
can’t find a spot o’ color in this, and if you know me you 
know this is the first time that ever happened. 

Stewart. — Come on. . . . Let’s have it. What’s the yam? 

Fallow. — The guy’s name is Waldemar Kossciuhowicz. 

Stewart. — Whoa! Take it easy! Spell it out. 

Fallow. — Sure, I know I gotta spell it. What a name! You 
can’t even get a good American name in the papers any 
more these days. Why don’t these guys go back where 
they came from? Kossciuhowicz. It’s pronovmced just 
like I’m saying it . . . Koss-kee-hoe-itz . . . with the 
accent on the hoe. The Waldemar is with a doubleyou. 



SURPRISE FOR THE BOYS 



and then comes the Kossciuhowicz ... K for Karpis, 
O for Ossining, double S for Sing Sing, C for Capone . . . 

Stewart. — Say, what are you tryin’ to give me, a build-up ? 

Fallow. — All right. Stew, all right. I ain’t tryin’ to build it up, 
honest. Spell it any way you like. ... It don’t make no 
difference. Anyway, everybody up here calls him Kosky. . . . 
It makes things a lot easier. 

Stewart. — I can imagine it would. 

Fallow. — Twenty-nine years old. First-degree murder, Chemic- 
ville, last September. 

Stewart. — Chemicville? Never heard of it. 

Fallow. — Why, Chemicville is the biggest village in the state. 

Stewart. — No foolin’ ! 

Fallow. — Kosky killed the landlord with an ice pick. He 
claimed the landlord dispossessed his old lady, and as a 
result she froze to death. No defense. Unmarried. No 
woman in the case at all . . . not even a wife. No appeal. 
And so help me. Stew, Kosky didn’t even ask for executive 
clemency. 

Stewart. — Must be a queer duck. 

Fallow. — You oughta see Kosky. A big lump of a guy who 
ain’t said two words since they showed him into the death 
house last winter. In all my three decays up here I never 
see a mug with less interest. Why, I bet you ain’t even got 
his murder in the clips. Think o’ that. 

Stewart. — I am thinkin’ . . . and wonderin’ where the story’s 
cornin’ from. You’re not much help. Fallow. 

Fallow. — I’m givin’ you all I’ve got. The only visitor he ever 
had was his sister. She came here this momin’ to say good- 
by, but the guards tell me they didn’t even talk . . . only 
held hands for a couple of minutes, and that’s all. That 
shows what a state prison man you’ve got in me. Stew. 
Tell this to Brady. Another reporter would o’ tried to build 
this story up . . . F’rinstance, Kosky worked in a chemical 
factory, and there could be an angle to that. ... You 
know, killin’ the landlord with chemicals, maybe . . . but 
with me the truth is the truth. I got a reputation to hold 
up. Stew. 



7 



BEST BROADCASTS OF 1938-39 



Stewart. — Sure . . .oh, sure. 

Fallow. — I’ll tell you something. Why, they din’t even have 
to shave Kosky’s head for the hot seat electrode, ’cause he 
turned out to be bald in just the right place. 

Stewart. — Is that right ? 

Fallow. — Sure, and I’ll tell you something else you won’t 
believe . . . but it’s true, take my word for it. . . . Kosky 
didn’t even have a last supper. 

Stewart. — Well, well. 

Fallow. — That shows what I’m up against these days. A couple 
o’ years ago a last supper was always good for five slugs 
with any sheet in the country. But today not only don’t 
some sheets not want last suppers no more, but guys Hke 
Kosky come along who don’t even eat ’em. What a man ! 

Stewart. — One of those guys who can take it or leave it alone. 

Fallow. — The guard asks him what he wants for last supper. 
“You can have everything and anything,’’ he tells Kosky, 
“but I recommend the roast turkey with chestnut dressing 
and cranberry sauce, ’cause that’s what the others usually 
take.” And do you know what Kosky said? 

Stewart. — I’ll bite. 

Fallow. — He says, “Just bring me some bread and butter.” 
After that they ask him if he wants to see the chaplain in 
private and he shakes his head, no. Well, Stew, in just about 
3 minutes Kosky will be on the hot seat. I guess it won’t 
make no difference to him and the rest of us, ’cause the 
guy’s been dead from the neck up for a long, long time. I bet 
he wouldn’t even make a Monday feature. I’m discouraged. 
Stew. Well, I guess I’ll hang up now and call back with the 
flash when he bums. 

Stewart. — Wait a minute. Fallow. . . . We’re not very busy 
here. ... You might as well keep the line open. 

Fallow. — O.K. Say ... if you want, just to pass the time. I’ll 
give you a blow-by-blow accoimt o’ this burning. 

Stewart. — Sure, go ahead. 

Fallow. — There ain’t a single newspaperman except me up 
here. I’m phonin’ as usual from the seat of honor which took 

8 



SURPRISE FOR THE BOYS 



me 20 years to wangle. You remember, Stew, I showed it to 
you the time you was up here . . . the seat by the glass 
window that looks into the execution chamber. 

Stewart. — Sure ... I remember. 

Fallow. — On big executions Warden Roth shuts the window 
and don’t let me use the phone at my elbow, on account of 
some of the other boys might claim special privileges. But 
on small burnings like this he don’t give a damn. The 
window’s open a little, and I can look right in and down on 
the oak electric chair fitted with that screwy plush headrest 
. . . but on account of the window is heavily glazed none 
of the bigwig politicians in the witness stand can see me. 
In fact, nobody except the warden knows I’m up here 
lookin’ down on what’s goin’ on. 

Stewart. — Who’s viewin’ the festivities? 

Fallow. — Oh, the warden didn’t have no trouble roundin’ up 
lo witnesses for this burning, as small as it is. Steve Blathery, 
the biggest and crookedest politician in Anatomic County is 
among those present, as usual, with a bunch of his ward 
heelers. Blathery likes watchin’ ’em bum. Father McCauley 
is standin’ on the rubber mat in the center o’ the concrete 
floor. The warden’s standin’ in the corner lookin’ tired. 
Burnings always make him sick. Dr. Sugar and Dr. Blint 
are in the other comer with their deathoscopes. Four or 
five guards are scattered around the room. 

Stewart. — Just a nice, happy, domestic scene. And what about 
the honored guest ? 

Fallow. — Here he comes. . . . Here comes Kosky now. This is 
hot. He’s cornin’ through the death house door, and do you 
know what the sign on that door says ? 

Stewart. — All right . . . I’ll bite again. 

Fallow. — It says . . . silence. Ain’t that a pay-off? As if you 
need a sign to keep Kosky quiet. Two guards are escortin’ 
him in . . . one in front and one in back . . . and he’s 
cornin’ very quiet. There won’t be no trouble with Kosky at 
all, Stew. Take my word for it. Say, are you still listenin’ ? 

Stewart. — Sure, I’m listenin’ . . . but I ain’t heard nothin’ 
startlin’ yet. 



9 



BEST BROADCASTS OF 1938-39 

Fallow. — W ell, it’ll all be over in about 2 minutes. Pettigrew, 
the executioner, has stepped away from the control board. 
. . . That’s at the far wall. . . . And now he’s dustin’ off 
the hot seat. You oughta see Kosky glide over to that seat! 
There won’t be no trouble ... no trouble at all. Stew. 
He’s walkin’ like in a dream. . . . He’s practically tiptoein’ 
those last couple o’ steps to the hot seat like he was scared o’ 
disturbin’ his own last thoughts. Father McCauley starts 
cornin’ over to him, but Kosky shakes his head and waves 
the priest away. A funny lunkhead Kosky is. Stew. 

Stewart. — I’ ll take your word for it. 

Fallow. — Y ou oughta see ’im. . . . He’s smilin’ ... a happy 
smile, like he was glad the fatal moment has come. Pettigrew 
has just pushed Kosky down onto the hot seat, and Kosky 
acts a little scared when old Pet touches him. But he sits 
down all right without makin’ no demonstration. Old Pet 
has stepped back, and I can see the two guards fastenin’ the 
leg electrodes on poor Kosky. The headrest’ll be on him in 
another minute. You know. Stew, I actually feel sorry for 
Kosky. 

Stewart. — C oin’ soft in your old age. 

Fallow. — N o kiddin’, I do. . . . He’s so helpless. Just a big 
hunk o’ flesh and bones without no brains. Why do guys who 
can’t afford good lawyers go around killin’ people? Well, no 
use feelin’ sorry for him now. Old Pet is walkin’ over to put 
the black mask on Kosky’s face, and in just one more . . . 
Holy Smokes! Holy Smokes! Stew! Stew! STEW! 

Stewart. — W hatsa matta ? What’s breakin’ ? 

Fallow. — S tew, for Pete’s sake . . . stop the presses! Have 
Brady listen in on the extension ! Get ready to replate ! Holy 
Smokes! What a story! And I got it exclusive! 

{Fade out) 

Direction . — From this point only Fallow’s speeches on filtered 
mike until otherwise indicated. 

{Fade in) 

Brady. — H ello ! Hello ! Hello . . . Fallow ? 

Fallow. — Y eah . . . this is Fallow. Who’s this? 



JO 



SURPRISE FOR THE BOYS 



Brady. — T his is Brady. What’s the matter? What’s happened! 

Fallow. — P lenty ! You know that guy, Kosky . . . the one they 
were going to bum? Well, he swallowed dynamite! 

Brady. — What! Kosky . . . swallowed . . . dynamite! What 
do you mean? Are you nuts? How can a man swallow 
dynamite ? 

Fallow. — I n a cylinder . . . and it wasn’t exactly dynamite 
... it was fulminate of mercury. 

Brady. — F ulminate of mercury, you say. Fulminate of mercury! 

Fallow. — T hat’s a powerful explosive, ain’t it ? 

Brady. — W ow! Is that a powerful explosive! It’s the most 
powerful they make. Oh, boy, what a yam! Fallow, if you’re 
horsing us up, I’ll have you deported. Now hang right on this 
wire. 

Fallow. — O.K. You know me, chief. 

Brady. — B oy ! 

Boy. — Y es, Mr. Brady. 

Brady. — R un into the composing room. . . . Tell Ted to be 
ready to make over page one. Boy! 

Boy. — R ight here, Mr. Brady. 

Brady. — G et the managing editor. Tell him to hurry in here. 
Tell him a guy on the electric chair has swallowed a cylinder 
of double dynamite. 

Boy. — G ee, whiz! 

Brady. — T ell him the guy has just told the warden if they turn 
on the juice he’s gonna explode and blow everybody to hell. 
{Fade out) 

Direction . — All following speeches except Fallow's on filtered 
mike until otherwise indicated. 

{Fade in) 

Fallow. — H ello ! Hello . . . Stew ? This is Fallow. 

Stewart. — O.K., kid, shoot. 



II 



BEST BROADCASTS OF 1938-39 

Fallow. — Lemme catch my breath. Now, in the first place, yell 
over and tell Brady I’ll give you this exclusive for 100 fish. 
Not a penny less. If he tries to bargain I’ll hang up and call 
the opposition. . . . 

Stewart. — Now, don’t do anything rash. Fallow. Wait a second. 
. . . I’ll ask him. He’s right here. O.K. He says it’s O.K. 

Fallow. — Well, well, that’s fast work! Tell him he better not 
double-cross me. Now listen. Stew, and take down every 
word. Clamp on your earphones tight. . . . Everything is 
runnin’ smooth in the execution chamber. The witnesses are 
sittin’ quiet. Father McCauley is movin’ his lips in prayer. 
And old Pet walks over to put the black mask on Kosky’s 
face. Suddenly Kosky raises his right hand very slow and 
looks at the warden. . . . Then he says . . . 

{Fade out) 

Direction. — Filtered mike out entirely until further indicated. 
{Fade in) 

Kosky. — Pardon me for troubling you, warden, but I’ve got 
to say a few words. 

Warden. — All right, say what you want . . . but make it 
snappy. 

Kosky. — Warden, you think I’m just a hunky with no brains. 
Well, you are wrong. I happen to be Dr. Waldemar Kos- 
sciuhowicz, Bachelor of Science from the famous University 
of Lodz. And I also happen, Hke everybody else who gradu- 
ates from the famous University of Lodz, to be an expert 
chemist and engineer. 

Warden. — {Impatiently) Well? 

Kosky. — {Unperturbed) Now, what I want to say is that just 
before coming into the death chamber I have swallowed 
a sealed cylinder. This cylinder contains fulminate of 
mercury . . . the most powerful explosive in the world . . . 
ten times more terrific than TNT. And it contains enough 
fuhninate of mercury to blow up me and you and everybody 
else in this room and near this room for 300 yards around. 
The cylinder is the size of my thumb and is cleverly built 
with a detonating cap so that any sudden or violent muscular 
movement will cause the necessary spark to explode it. 
Like, for instance, the muscular spasm caused by electro- 



12 



SURPRISE FOR THE BOYS 



cution. So, everybody please sit or stand exactly where 
you are, because if anybody makes the slightest move I’m 
going to hiccup and knock the walls down ! 

{Fade out . . . Jade in) 

Fallow. — That is what Kosky says, Stew, word for word, and 
then he shuts his mouth very slow, and a terrible silence 
falls over the death chamber that is broken only by one o’ 
the ward heelers failin’ on the floor in a dead faint. Kosky 
just sits there on the hot seat, grinnin’ very funny, with the 
bald spot on the top of his head shinin’ like a moon on the 
water. Old Pet, the mask in his hand, stands a few feet 
away, his mouth wide open and his eyes glassy. All the 
witnesses himch up in their seats. The guards stand with 
their big beefy hands straight down at their sides. Dr. 
Sugar blinks his eyes, and Dr. Blint bites his lips. The 
warden turns pale and grim, and Father McCauley stops 
prayin’ and just stands there, his hands clasped over his 
chest. Finally the warden says . . . 

{Fade out . . . fade in huskily) 

Warden. — You can’t get away with this Kosky. Do you think 
we’re all crazy fools ? 

Sound. — Ad lib murmurs in background . . . suddenly cease. 

Kosky. — No, I don’t think you are crazy, warden. I think 
you are all very smart men . . . and that’s why I know 
you know I’m not lying. 

Warden. — Kosky, you picked the wrong warden to pull this 
trick on. Because when I was a youngster I worked in a 
construction camp . . . and I happened to be the powder 
monkey. So I know everything that there is to know about 
explosives. And I know that what you claim won’t work, 
even if you did do it, and anyway I think you’re lying. 

Kosky. — That’s a matter of opinion, warden, and every man is 
entitled to his opinion. So if you think I’m lying, or I won’t 
blow up, if I’m not lying, go right ahead and electrocute me. 
I’ll let Mr. Pettigrew move around for that, though I’m 
warning you nobody else make the slightest move or you’ll 
find out soon enough I’m not lying. The second Mr. Petti- 
grew pulls the switch you’ll all know who was right and who 
was wrong. Or rather , . . you won’t. 



13 



BEST BROADCASTS OF 1938-39 

Warden. — I know all about fulminate of mercury. It’s what 
we use in detonating caps to explode dynamite. It’s a 
powerful explosive. But . . . it’s absolutely harmless unless 
a spark hits it, and how are you gonna create a spark in 
the middle of your stomach? Now tell me that. 

Kosky. — Very simple, warden. There’s a tiny coil inside the 
cylinder that is held in place by a little rod. Now any harsh 
muscular movement will jolt that rod and imspring the 
coil . . . against a little contraption that works like a 
cigarette lighter. 

Blathery. — {Of, panicky) Cigarette lighter! {Shrieks) 

Voice. — {Of) Be a man, Blathery. We’re all in the same boat. 

Warden. — I guess you expect us to believe the cigarette lighter 
gadget will create the spark to set off the explosive ... in 
the middle of your stomach . . . where there isn’t any air. 

Kosky. — Oh, there’s air, all right. It’s a sealed cylinder, and 
there’s enough air inside to feed the spark. The watchmaker 
who made the cylinder for me tested it and it worked fine. 

Warden. — I guess they teach watchmaking, too, at the Uni- 
versity of Lodz. 

Kosky. — I should say they do. That’s one of their best courses. 

Warden. — And you swallowed that big cylinder containing 
the explosive and the coil and the rod and the little cigarette 
lighter all at once down your own throat. Ha! Tell me 
another. 

Kosky. — Well, it wasn’t very big. Not for me, anyway, because 
over at the University of Lodz we don’t play baseball or 
football or anything like that, but we do have a lot of fim 
practicing sword swallowing. Anyway, I doused the cylinder 
in a lot of butter and it went down quite easily. 

Guard. — Holy Smokes! That’s right! He did use a lot of butter. 
All he ordered for lunch was bread and butter, and I brought 
it to him. Only he didn’t eat any of the bread. 

Kosky. — Come here, warden. Why, you can feel it. Here. . . . 
Feel. . . . 

Blathery. — {Of, shrilly) Let me out of here ! 






SURPRISE FOR THE BOYS 



Voice. — (Off) That’s Blathery again. 

Kosky. — (Shouting) Shut up! Yelling like that puts me right 
on the edge of blowing. (Laughs hollowly) 

(Fade out) 

Direction. — Fallow only on filter until further note. 

(Fade in) 

Fallow. — And listen, Stew, when Kosky starts to laugh you 
oughta see everybody duck. He’s laughin’ now. 

Sound. — Faint laughter in background. 

Fallow. — ^Long, loud peals of laughter. . . . Only he’s managin’ 
not to shakes his sides too much ... I hope. 

Stewart. — Wait a second. Fallow. . . . Brady wants the wire. 

Brady. — Hello, Fallow. . . . Now you stay right where you are 
because . . . 

Fallow. — Hold on now, Brady. . . . I’m not hangin’ around 
here much longer. I don’t mind sayin’ I’m gettin’ the jitters. 

Brady. — What! You don’t mean to tell me you’re scared. What 
kind of a newspaperman are you to be scared at a time 
like this ? Am I scared ? Is Stewart scared ? Are you yellow, 
man? 

Fallow. — You don’t have to worry about the walls falling on 
top of you. 

Brady. — What if they do fall on you? You’ll be dying with 
your boots on, won’t you? Is there a more glorious way of 
dying than with your boots on ? 

Fallow. — I can think of quite a few. 

Brady. — Well, I have no time to argue about that now. I’ll 
send the check to your wife if anything happens. 

Fallow. — I’ll haunt you if you don’t. 

Brady. — Is that a nice thing to say? Did I ever go back on my 
word ? Now look. Fallow. You gotta keep Kosky in the 
death chamber for a couple of minutes. I want a personal 
interview. I want pictures. Find out who made the cylinder. 
Where did he get the idea of doing this ? Find out if he’s in 
love. 



15 



BEST BROADCASTS OF 1938-39 



Fallow. — That’s a big order. What do you want for dessert ? 

Brady. — Don’t think we’re letting you down on our road. 
I’ve got the wires burning. We’re looking up all the clips 
and all the encyclopedias on explosives. We’re contacting 
the head of the Bureau of Combustibles. We’re getting 
in touch with the research head of the American Explo- 
sives Company. We’re looking up all we can find about 
the University of Lodz. I never heard of it before. Now 
you yell right down to Kosky and tell him you want that 
interview. 

Fallow. — I won’t do it, Brady, I tell you, I won’t do it. 

Brady. — What do you mean you won’t do it? Do it! What do 
you think we’re paying you $50 for? 

Fallow. — A hundred, Brady. What are you tryin’ to do, gyp 
me? 

Brady. — All right, himdred, then. I made a mistake. A slip of 
the tongue. 

Fallow. — {Excitedly) Hold on, Brady! Get this! Kosky’s 
getting off the hot seat ! 

Brady. — {Sputtering) What ! He’s getting off the hot seat ! 

Fallow. — Yes! He’s imstrapping the leg electrodes! He’s stand- 
ing up ! Brady . . . did you hear me ? 

Brady. — {Bellowing) Did I hear you! Wow! Hang on! {Oj^) Stop 
the presses! Another replate! {On mike) Are you there. 
Fallow ? 

Fallow. — Right with you. 

Brady. — Hold on. I’ll have you switched over to Stewart. 
Operator, put this call on Stewart’s phone. 

{Fade out) 

Direction. — Stewart only on filter. 

Fallow. — Hello, Stew? Fallow again. Plenty has happened 
since I spoke to you. How far did I get ? 

Stewart. — You said Kosky was laughing. 

Fallow. — That’s right. Then he stops laughin’ and just looks 
aroimd, and everybody is quiet again. Now get this picture: 

16 



SURPRISE FOR THE BOYS 



Warden Roth shoves his jaw forward a full 2 inches and 
glares at Kosky. . . . 

{Fade out) 

Direction. — Filtered mike out entirely until further indicated. 
{Fade in) 

Warden. — This is a good gag, Kosky, and I’m glad to see 
you’re enjoying yourself so much at our expense. {Pause) 
Go on with the execution, Mr. Pettigrew. 

Pettigrew. — Yes, sir , . . in my opinion, warden, this man is 
bluffing. In all my experience I never heard of such a 
fantastic thing. 

Warden. — You two guards . . . stand one on each side of him. 

Kosky. — Excuse me, but I have heard that the black mask is 
optional. Is that so ? 

Warden. — {Incensed) Yes! Never mind the mask! Hurry it up! 

Kosky. — You see . . . you see, I don’t want the mask, because 
when I blow up I want my eyes to pop out like machine gun 
bullets. {Chuckles, subsides) 

Warden. — All right, Pettigrew, hurry up over to the control 
board and thud that switch ! 

Sound. — Slow footsteps. 

{Fade out) . . . {fade in) 

Fallow. — Then, so help me. Stew, Kosky starts puffin’ out his 
cheeks. I never seen anything like this before in my life! 
He puffs ’em out so far he looks like the world’s biggest 
bomb achin’ to explode to everybody present . . . me 
included. That cinches it. Steve Blathery is off his bench in 
one record-breakin’ broad jmnp. . . . 

{Quick fade) 

Direction. — Filtered mike out entirely. 

Blathery. — No! No! For God’s sake don’t pull the switch. 
He’ll blow up ! I know it ! The man’s mad, and he’s tellin’ the 
truth! 

Warden. — Blathery! Keep away from that control board! Get 
back, I say, or I’ll . . . 



BEST BROADCASTS OF 1938-39 

Sound. — Heavy scuffling . . . thud of bodies striking floor . . . 
low moans. 

First Guard. — This is a nice mess, Blathery. . . You’ve 
knocked the warden out. 

Blathery. — I didn’t mean to. . . . He tackled me. 

Second Guard. — His head must have hit the concrete. He’s out 
cold. 

First Guard. — Dr. Blint, will you see what you can do? 

Blint. — This is tmheard of, preposterous, ridiculous. We must 
go on with the electrocution. 

Blathery. — Dr. Blint! Let me remind you I’m the political 
head of this county. And let me tell you ... all of you . . . 
that you owe your jobs to me . . . and that if a single one 
of you don’t do what I order, you won’t have jobs tomorrow. 



Kosky. — {Pointedly) If you are here to have jobs tomorrow . . . 
{Fade out) . . . {fade in) 

Direction. — Following speeches Fallow only on filter. 

Fallow. — It was Kosky pipin’ up. Stew, which is his first 
remarks in many minutes, and everybody just keeps quiet 
and looks at him. Then, very slow but very sure, Kosky 
bends over and starts unstrappin’ his leg electrodes, and not 
one of the guards makes the slightest move to stop him. He 
works as if he has all the time in the world, and finally he 
gets ’em off and wiggles off the hot seat and stands up like a 
lazy man wakin’ up in the momin! . . . Hey! Get this! 
Flash! Kosky just hotfooted out of the death chamber! He 
escaped. And he took Steve Blathery with him as hostage ! 

Stewart. — Great stuff ! Wait a minute. . . . Here’s Brady . . . 
wants to talk to you. 

Brady. — Hello, Fallow? This is Brady. I just spoke to Dr. 
Fullerton, head of the American Explosive Company. He 
says a man can’t explode. 

Fallow. — No ? 

Brady. — No. At least he said it never has been done before. I 
told him Kosky invented a new kind of deadly machine. He 

18 



SURPRISE FOR THE BOYS 



says he’d like to see it. I told him we haven’t got time to 
arrange it. . . . Wait a minute. Hold on, Fallow. 

Boy. — Mr. Brady, here’s a report I was told to give to you. 

Brady. — Wow! One of the boys just got hold of Chief Bentley 
of the Bureau of Combustibles. Bentley says even if all 
the fulminate of mercury in the world exploded inside a 
man’s stomach it wouldn’t do much damage because the 
body would smother the explosion. Yeah, Fallow . . . 
Bentley says the fulminate of mercury would only “pot- 
hole.” Kosky might be a mess on the floor, but nobody 
would get hurt. He never could knock the walls down. . . . 
He couldn’t even shake the walls. 

{Fade out . . . Jade in) 

Stewart. — Stewart only on filter. 

Fallow. — Hello, Stew? Fallow. 

Stewart. — Say, did Kosky get away ? 

Fallow. — Yeah, he’s gone. And it looks like he won’t comeback. 
Here’s the picture. Kosky gets off the hot seat and walks 
over and grabs B lathery by the scruff of the neck. You 
ought to see Blathery squirm. It did my heart good. The 
warden is out cold, so he ain’t no use at all, and all the 
others are standin’ there, ’cause Blathery holds the power 
o’life and death over their jobs, and they dam well know it. 
Then Kosky says in a very gentle voice . . . 

{Fade out . . . fade in) 

Direction. — Filter out. 

Kosky. — Mr. Blathery . . . you’re my friend, aren’t you ? 

Blathery. — Why, Kosky! Kosky! Of course, I’m your friend! 
You know that. 

Kosky. — Well, that’s fine. Because you and I are going for a 
little walk together right this minute, and if you come gently 
and do what I tell you I won’t harm a hair on your head. 
However — however, if you act the slightest bit as if you 
weren’t going to do exactly what I tell you, or if any of the 
men in this room try to follow us, or if anybody gives an 
alarm so that people outside start shooting at me, I am 
afraid I am going to develop a sudden, severe attack of 
stomach cramps. And you know what that means. 



19 



BEST BROADCASTS OF 1938-39 



Blathery. — Kosky, you can’t do that to me! You can’t! Why 
I’m the boss of Anatomie County. Let me go, Kosky, and 
I’ll get a reprieve! You won’t even have to stay in jail. I’ll 
give you a job at the social club . . . anything you want. 

Kosky. — Get moving. 

Blathery. — You heard what he said, boys. And all I can say 
is that if anybody gives Kosky the slightest cause to explode 
he might as well leave Anatomie County, but even that 
won’t do any good, because my six brothers will trail the 
skunk to the ends of the earth and catch up with him some 
day. Good-by, boys, and just remember that, if anything 
happens to me ! 

Kosky. — Come on, and stop beefing. 

Fallow. — {On filter) And then ... let me tell you. Stew . . . 
Kosky gives him a soft little shove, and both of them march 
out the door marked . . . silence. That’s exactly what we’ve 
been having for the last three minutes . . . silence . . . 
except for the warden. He’s layin’ on the floor cornin’ to an’ 
moanin’ . . . 

{Fade in regular mike simultaneously with fade off filter) but 
everybody is so scared to move that not even the doctors 
have gone over to see how he is. Stew. I bet the perspiration 
in the death house is enough to float one o’ those pocket 
battleships. Flash! Stop the presses! 

Stewart. — {On filter) What’s happened now. Fallow ? 

Fallow. — Here comes Blathery back alone. Kosky stole his 
pants ! Whoopee ! Who’d ever thought Steve Blathery wears 
green and purple vmderclothes ? 

Sound. — Crowd murmurs rising to hubbub, sustained behind. 

Fallow. — Can you hear that racket? Everybodj’-’s yellin’ and 
excited. Stew, and I can’t get very clear what happened. 
The warden is sittin’ up and rubbin’ his neck. Flash! Kosky 
escaped in an auto! He made Blathery walk him out o’ the 
prison. He made Blathery smile nice every time they passed 
anybody. He walked Blathery half a block outside the 
prison. A car was waitin’ down the block with a woman 
at the wheel. Kosky got in, made Blathery remove his 
pants . . . yip-ee! and then without a word he an’ the 
dame sped away in the car. Blathery is yellin’ now for 



20 



SURPRISE FOR THE BOYS 



somebody to lend him a pair of pants, but nobody seems 
willin’ to do it. What a man! What a night! The warden 
looks like he’s gonna sock Blathery in the jaw. Wow! Ouch! 
He did! Blathery don’t need pants now. . . . They’ll have 
to get him a stretcher. Oh, my heart ! 

{Fade out . . . Jade in) 

Direction. — Fallow on Jilter. 

Brady. — Fallow ? This is Brady. 

Fallow. — Oh, hello, Brady. . . . How did you like the yam? 

Brady. — How do you like this ? The office boy just looked up the 
University of Lodz in the encyclopedia. It doesn’t say any- 
thing about them teaching chemistry there or watchmaking 
or sword swallowing. But it does say this: “The University 
of Lodz is famous for its courses in advanced psychology.’’ 

Announcer. — You have just heard the first of a series of drama- 
tizations of short stories from contemporary magazines by 
the Federal Theatre Radio Division. Tonight’s program was 
based on the story, “Surprise for the Boys,’’ by Herbert 
Lewis, which appeared originally in the magazine, Esquire. 
It was adapted for radio by Victor E. Smith and produced 
tmder the direction of Ashley Buck. 

This was a presentation of the Federal Theatre Radio 
Division, a project of the Works Progress Administration, 
in association with the Mutual Network. 

In addition to the usual facilities of the Mutual Network, 
this program came to you as an international exchange 
feature over the coast-to-coast network of the Canadian 
Broadcasting Corporation. 



21 



BEST SHORT STORY ADAPTATION 
(SERIOUS) 



A Trip to Czardis 

by Edwin Cranberry 
Adapted for radio by Elizabeth and James Hart 

flOQOflflflfl Rflflgfl OOgOnOPOROOOOOQQQQOQOPOQOQQQOOOQOOC 

D etermining the best broadcast in the classification of 
serious short story adaptations presented one of the 
severest problems met with in the preparation of this 
anthology. The short story adaptation is one of radio’s 
most common dramatic types, and it has been estimated 
with reasonable accuracy that over thirty thousand pro- 
grams for this division alone are broadcast every year. 
Four hundred and fifty were examined for this book. Many 
fine pieces were rejected as candidates for inclusion and 
the final choice was arrived at only by making the criteria 
of qualification so severe as to render ineligible, on one 
claim or another, most of the disputed properties. In the 
final judgment the following factors were taken into 
account : 

I. Literary merit of the original. 

2. Difficulty of the adaptation problem. 

3. Artistic integrity of the adapter’s inventions. 

4. Adherence to the pattern, mood, and intention of the 
original. 

5. Recognition and use of expansible suggestion. 

6. Playing power. 

In the degree to which each story adaptation met these 
tests, it was given its independent rating. “A Trip to 
Czardis” was deficient in no category. The original story 
is the work of Edwin Cranberry, published in Forum 
in 1932. The piece was adapted by Elizabeth and James 
Hart for the Columbia Workshop and has been printed in 
its broadcast version in the anthology, Columbia Workshop 



22 



A TRIP TO CZARDIS 



Plays, the first important collection of radio dramatic 
material ever to be published.* 

The story as Granberry has told it is a superb piece of 
I writing, intensely moving, economically wrought. Its mood 

fastens itself upon the reader in the first few paragraphs, 

I and it moves unpretentiously and quietly to its agonizing 

[ conclusion by a series of half disclosures and submerged 

revelations and by dark but meaningful overtones. One 
j becomes entirely acquainted with the Cameron family and 

I does so seemingly without ever being told very much about 

, them. 

There is very little dialogue in the original and practically 
none at all of which the adapter can make use. The laconic 
snatches of talk that Granberry has given, the embarrassed 
taciturnity of the uncle, the natural reticences of the older 
(1 child, and the diffidence and docility of the younger — these 

' j place an urgency of the most exacting sort upon the adapter. 

'I He must reveal no more than the author has, and at the 

,j same time he must keep his characters talking for thirty 

minutes. 

■ The adaptation succeeded in doing this. The invented 

conversations that are given to the cast are exactly right 
" for each character in mood, in content, and in duration. 

The use of the flash back to recapture the flavor of Czardis 
on a happier day is a piece of creative discernment that 
few writers in the craft can handle and that none can sur- 
pass. Yet this exists in the original only as the briefest 
whisper. Plausible inventions of this kind and masterful 
reconstructions of full personalities from fragmentary 
suggestion are possible only to those radio writers with a 
true gift of perception and sympathy. No discriminating 
' reader, familiar with both the original and its radio adapta- 

tion, can believe other than that the finished script is 
precisely what the author of the story would have given 
us had he fashioned the piece for the broadcast medium. 

* Columbia Workshop Plays, edited by Douglas Coulter, Associate Direc- 
tor of Broadcasts for CBS, was published by Whittlesey House, August, 
1939 - 



23 



A Trip to Czardis* 

AJLiLlfiJUJUlJLOJUULiUUULiLJLfi.OJULO^ 

Music. — Open melody, fading into 

Sound. — The subdued sounds of daybreak in the Florida scrub. 
Now a distant cock crow. Presently the far-off howling of a 
dog. Close at hand, the sad call of mourning doves, drawn 
out, repeated, subsiding through 

Announcer. — A trip to Czardis! 

Sound. — Weary footfalls mounting steep stairs; they cross a creak- 

> ing, bare floor and fade into the heavy breathing, the meaning- 
less mumbles and sighs of sleeping children. 

Mamma. — (A taut compassion in her voice) Sleepin’ and dream- 
in’ .. . still full of their baby concerns. Hit ain’t in my 
heart to waken ’em. Hit ain’t in my heart to . . . oh, 
Lord, I’m fearful. I don’t know iffen I’m actin’ right or 
not, Lord. 

Sound. — The mourning doves call softly at the window. 

Mamma. — Our Father which art in heaven. Hallowed be thy 
name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth 
as it is in heaven . . . {Breaks off sobbing) 

Jim. — {Startled from sleep) Mamma! Mamma! 

Mamma. — {Reassuringly) Nothin’s wrong, Jim. Don’t be scairt. 

Jim. — Mamma, you ain’t cryin’ ? 

Mamma. — No, Jim. 

Jim. — You’re a-prayin’? 

Mamma. — Yes, I were prayin’. Hit’ll be day soon. You better 
be risin’ up. Your Uncle Holly’ll be along directly. 

Jim. — {With growing excitement) Hit’s really come. The day. 
The day we’re goin’ to Czardis in the wagon to see papa. 

* “A Trip to Czardis,” dramatic version, copyright, 1939, by Elizabeth 

and James Hart; original story, copyright, 1932, by Forum Magazine. 



24 



A TRIP TO CZARDIS 



Mamma. — {Dully) Hit’s come, all right. 

Jim. — Seems like I jest cain’t believe yet we’re goin’ . . . 

Mamma. — {Cutting in) There ain’t time fur talk now, Jim. 
You best bestir yourself. And waken up Dan’l too. 

Sound. — Receding footfalls on floor hoards. 

Mamma. — {Voice more distant) Put on the clean things I washed 
out fur you so you’ll look decent and be a credit to your 
raisin’. 

Sound. — Footfalls descending stairs; fade-out. Mourning doves 
call briefly. 

Jim. — Wake up, Dan’l. Wake up! 

Dan’l. — {Whimpering in his sleep) Leave me be. Make ’em 
leave me be. Jim! . . . Jim! 

Jim. — {Patient, kind) Don’t be feared, Dan’l. Ain’t nobody a- 
botherin’ you. 

Dan’l. — Hit’s dark. I cain’t see, Jim. 

Jim. — Ain’t e’er a soul here but me and you. See, I got my 
arm around you. Open up your eyes now. 

Dan’l. — {Wakes, still frightened) Oh . . . oh, I were dreamin’. 

Jim. — W hat dreamin’ were you havin’ ? 

Dan’l. — Hit’s gone right out of my head. But it were fearful, 
Jim, fearful, what I dreamed. 

Jim. — The day’s come, Dan’l. 

Dan’l. — W hat, Jim? 

Jim. — The day. Hit’s here right now. The day we been waitin’ 
fur to come. You’ll recollect it all in a minute. 

Dan’l. — I recollect. Hit’s the day we’re goin’ in the wagon to 
see papa. 

Jim. — We’re goin’ all the way this time, right on to Czardis, 
where papa is. I never see sech a place as Czardis. Papa 
takened me one time he were going to market. You were 
too little then, and he were feared you’d get tuckered. 
You started up whimperin’ jest as we drove off, and papa 



25 



BEST BROADCASTS OF 1938-39 



jumped outen the wagon and run back and told you, “ Don’t 
take on, Dan’l. Soon’s you get to be six. I’ll bring you, 
too, and we’ll have us a right fine time.” {Fading) Hit were 
terrible long ago that papa takened me, but I can see it all 
plain, just like it was happenin’ now. 

Music. — Fade in merry-go-round. 

Sound. — Babble of many voices. Cries of market vendors: “ 'Taters! 
Sweet Haters! Pick ’em up, gents. Pick ’em up! Grapefruit, 
oranges, and lemons! Grapefruit, oranges, and lemons! Floridy’s 
finest, ladies! Floridy’s finest! Fresh, fresh fish! Fresh, fresh 
fish! Red snapper! Red snapper! Right out of the gulf, folks! 
Right out of the gulf!” 

Jim. — {Cutting in and over) You mean I can sure enough ride 
on ’em? 

Music. — Merry-go-round slows and stops. 

Papa. — That’s jest what I do mean, young ’un. Which do you 
favor? How about this red colt? Here, I’ll h’ist you on his 
back. Mind you holt on tight now. 

Music. — Merry-go-round up loud. 

Sound. — Laughter and squeals of children. 

Music. — Merry-go-round gradually fades out. 

Sound. — Crowd in background. 

Papa. — Well, son, were it a good ride? 

Jim. — Papa, hit were like nothin’ else in the world, a-ridin’ the 
horses that make music. 

Papa. — I’m happy it pleasured you, son. 

Jim. — Are they always in Czardis? 

Papa. — Only jest on market day. Likely the feller that owns ’em 
figgers there’ll always be a parcel of young ’uns a-comin’ 
along with their mas and pas, and iffen the mas and pas 
ain’t downright mean they can spare a nickel to give the 
young ’uns a treat. 

Sound. — Vendors’ cries up momentarily, then fade into background. 

Jim. — Oh, look, papa. Over yonder on top of that big buildin’. 
They got a gold ball stickin’ up in the air! 

26 



A TRIP TO CZARDIS 



Papa. — That’s the courthouse. I calculate that ball must be 20, 
25 foot round the middle. Awful purty, catchin’ the sun the 
way it does. 

Jim. — Is it bigger round’n our well ? 

Papa. — Oh, it’s a sight bigger’n the well. 

Vendor. — {Fading in) Lemonade! Ice-cold lemonade! Here you 
are. Ice-cold lemonade ! 

Papa. — Reckon you could stand wettin’ your whistle, eh, Jim? 
Here, mister, let’s have a couple of them lemonades. 

Vendor. — Mighty hot day. . . . Here you are. 

Papa. — I thank you. . . . Well, how do it go down, son? 

Jim. — Hit’s colder’n the spring water in the hollow. I never knew 
there could be somethin’ so cold. I can feel it a-freezin’ my 
teeth together. 

Vendor. — That’s the ice makes it so cold. 

Jim. — I ain’t never had ice. 

Vendor. — Here, yoimg feller. I’ll put a little piece in your glass, 
so’s you can eat it. 

Sound. — Tinkle of ice. 

Jim. — I sure thank you. 

Sound. — Crowd noises and vendors' cries intrtide briefly. Gabble of 
flock of turkeys, fading shortly. 

Papa. — Don’t them turkeys look plump ’n’ tasty ? Now, iflen I 
jest weren’t so scarce of money. I’d certain take one home 
to your mamma. Hit’s a long time since I were able to shoot 
her a wild one. 

Jim. — I never see so many things to eat in my life! Oh, look, 
papa, look cornin’. What’s all them? 

Papa. — Them’s balloons. 

Jim. — Balloons. They’re somethin’ like a big soap bubble, only 
with the same color all over. Jest look at ’em a-bobbin’ and 
swayin’ like as if they was tryin’ to get away. 

Papa. — Hit’s the gas in ’em makes ’em pull that-a-way. 

27 



BEST BROADCASTS OF 1938-39 

Jim. — Gas? 

Papa. — Somethin’ in ’em that makes ’em go up in the air iffen 
you let go the string. 

Jim. — {Wistfully) I reckon they cost a heap of money. 

Papa. — {Laughs) Hit’s a good thing you don’t come often to 
town, young squirrel, lessen your papa wouldn’t have a 
cent to his name. I expect we can get you a balloon, though. 
Hey ! you . . . 

Jim. — {Solemnly) Oh, papa, I won’t forget today all the other 
days I live, papa. 

Sound. — The crowd, the vendors' cries grow louder, then fade into 
silence. After a moment a cock crows ... the doves stir. 

Jim. — {Dreamily) I never see anything like it. You jest can’t 
pitcher it, Dan’l, till you been there. 

Dan’l. — I recollect the water tower. 

Jim. — Not in your own right. Hit’s by me tellin’ it you see it in 
your mind. 

Dan’l. — And lemonade with ice in it . . . and balloons of every 
kind of color . . . 

Jim. — {Cutting in) That, too, I seen and told to you. 

Dan’l. — {Incredulous) Then I never seen any of it at all? 

Jim. — Hit’s me were there. I let you play like, but hit’s me went 
to Czardis. You weren’t olden enough. 

Dan’l. — I’m six now, ain’t I, Jim? 

Jim. — ^Well . . . and you’re a-goin’ today. 

Dan’l. — But it’s mamma and Uncle Holly that’s takin’ me. 

Jim. — Papa would of done it iffen he’d stayed here. Anyways, 
hit’s much the same. We’re goin to see him. 

Dan’l. — Do papa live in Czardis now? 

Jim. — I don’t rightly know. He went there a long time back, 
but . . . 

Mamma. — {Off, cutting in) Jim! Dan’l! 

28 



A TRIP TO CZARDIS 



Jim. — Yes, mamma? 

Mamma. — {Off) Are you a-gettin’ your clothes on? Breakfast is 
’most fixed. 

Jim. — Yes, ma’am. {To Dan’l) Come on, pile outen that bed. 

Sound. — Bare feet on floor boards . . . mourning doves up. 

Dan’l. — {Shiveringly) Oh-h . . . the cold aches me! 

Jim. — Skin into your britches quick, while I’m a-holdin’ ’em. 
There. Stay still now, and I’ll get that shirt over your head. 
{Soothingly) You won’t be shiverin’ long, Dan’l. Hit’s goin’ 
to be fair. Mournin’ doves startin’ a’ready. The sun’ll bake 
you warm. 

Dan’l. — Is it sunshiny in Czardis ? 

Jim. — Hit’s past believin’, Dan’l. And when it shines on that 
gold ball that’s perched on the courthouse . . . 

Dan’l. — The one that’s bigger’n our well? 

Jim. — Hit’s 25 foot round the mid. . . 

Mamma. — {Off; cuts in) Come eat now, you young ’uns! 

Jim. — {Calling) Yes, ma’am, we’re a-comin’. 

Sound. — Double Jootfalls gropingly descend a stairway . . . con- 
tinue through next speeches. 

Jim. — Catch a holt of my hand. These stairs is mighty dark. 

Dan’l. — Momin’, mamma! 

Mamma. — Momin’, boys. {A pause) You look right neat. But 
your hands could be a mite cleaner. There’s a bucket of 
fresh water yonder and some soap. Look careful you don’t 
drip none on your clothes. 

Sound. — Splashing of water continues through next two speeches. 

Dan’l. — Might I could touch the gold ball, Jim? 

Jim. — Not lessen you was to get you the tallest ladder in Floridy 
and climb up to the courthouse roof. Then you’d need you 
another ladder to . . . 

Mamma. — D raw up, boys, and get to eatin’. Dan’l, you look 
half froze. Best set close to the stove. 



29 



BEST BROADCASTS OF 1938-39 

Sound. — Scraping of chairs on floor. 

Mamma. — {Sternly) Ain’t you forgot somethin’, Jim? 

Jim. — Huh? . . . Oh! . . . {In a rapid singsong) We give 
thanks, Lord, fur the food that Thou has provided and 
that we’re a-goin’ to eat. Amen. 

Mamma. — I don’t want never again to see you tearin’ into your 
rations before you’re said a blessin’ for ’em. 

Jim. — {Meekly) I didn’t study to do it, mamma. It’s jest that I 
was thinkin’ about us goin’ to see papa in Czardis till I 
forgot. 

Mamma. — All right; go ahead and eat now, so’s you’ll be ready 
when your Uncle Holly comes. 

Dan’l. — {In a confidential undertone to Jim) Will Uncle Holly 
buy us lemonade in Czardis ? 

Jim. — It ain’t decided yet. He ain’t spoke. 

Dan’l. — Mebbe papa . . . 

Jim. — ^Likely papa will. Mebbe somethin’ better ’n lemonade. 

Dan’l. — ^What would it be? 

Jim. — It might could be ice-cream cones. 

Dan’l. — {Rapturously) Ice-cream cones? Oh, Jim! 

Sound. — Knock on light door. 

Jim. — {Warningly) Hush! There’s Uncle Holly now. 

Sound. — Door opens. 

Mamma. — Momin’, Holly. 

Holly. — Momin’, Mary. Momin’, young ’uns. 

Sound. — Door slams shut. 

Dan’l. — {With shrill eagerness) Can I sit up in front with you. 
Uncle Holly? 

Holly. — I’ll have to study about that, Dan’l. {To mamma, in a 
low, disapproving voice) You fixed on takin’ them still? 

Mamma. — {Quietly) I am. 

30 



A TRIP TO CZARDIS 



Holly. — I reckon you know, Mary, hit’s not my nature to 
meddle in other folks’ doin’s, but I can’t he’p thinkin’ you’re 
dead wrong to take ’em. It’d be different if they were older. 

Jim. — {Breaks in protestingly) Uncle Holly! I’m ten years now, 
and papa takened me when I wasn’t hardly older’n Dan’l. 

Mamma. — Hush, Jim. {Still very quiet but with complete finality) 
He asked to see them. Holly. Nobody but God Almighty 
ought to tell a soul what it can or can’t have. 

Holly. — G od knows I don’t grudge him the sight of ’em. I were 
only thinkin’ iffen they were my sons . . . 

Mamma. — They are Jim’s sons. Holly. {Abruptly) It’s time I 
were hitchin’ the wagon. You can he’p me if you’ve a mind 
to. {Fading) Boys, come out soon’s you finish. Don’t tarry. 

Sound. — Door opens and closes. 

Dan’l. — That were mighty mean of Uncle Holly. 

Jim. — {Slowly) Uncle Holly ain’t got a mean bone to his body. 
I can’t figger why he didn’t want us, lessen he were feared 
we’d fret papa while he’s ailin’. 

Dan’l. — Is papa ailin? 

Jim. — Not bad. But the doctor don’t like too many folks a-visitin’ 
him. He must be a sight better now, though, or mamma 
wouldn’t be takin’ us. {A pause) You haven’t et your com 
pone. 

Dan’l. — I’m savin’ it to take to papa. 

Jim. — Papa don’t crave e’er ol’ com pone. 

Dan’l. — Mebbe he would want to have my whistle . . . the 
one that were in the Crackerjack box Uncle Holly brung me. 

Jim. — That ain’t a whistle fur a man, Dan’l. Papa’d jest laugh 
at a puny, squeakin’ trick lik e that. 

Sound. — Chair pushed back. 

Jim. — Iffen you’ve et enough, we’d best go out. Mamma’ll 
be riled if we keep ’em waitin’. 

Dan’l. — All right. {Wistfully) Seems like there must be some- 
thin’ I could take him. 



31 



BEST BROADCASTS OF 1938-39 

Sound . — Opening and shutting of door; then sounds of horses near 
at hand . . . switching of tails . , . stamping . . . slob- 
bering. Barnyard background. 

Mamma. — Jim, where you o2 to ? 

Jim. — {Off, breathlessly) Jest a minute! 

Mamma. — Come back here. You hear me? {Voice growing 
fainter as she pursues him) Jim! {Voice comes up stronger 
again) Get down out of there! Are worms gnawin’ you 
that you skin up a pomegranate tree at this hour ? Don’t I 
feed you enough ? 

Jim. — {Timidly) I were only . . . 

Mamma. — {Cuts in, more quietly) We ain’t yet come to the 
shame of you and Dan’l huntin’ your food offen the trees 
and grass. People passin’ on the road and seein’ you gnawin’ 
will say that Jim Cameron’s sons are starved, foragin’ hke 
cattle of the field. 

Jim. — I were gettin’ the pomegranates fur papa. 

Mamma. — Oh. . . . {Gently) I guess we won’t take any, Jim. 
But I’m proud it come to you to take your papa somethin’. 

Jim. — {A bit reluctantly) Well ... hit were Dan’l it come to, 
mamma. 

Mamma. — It were a fine thought, and I’m right proud . . . 
though today we won’t take anything. 

Jim. — I guess there’s better pomegranates in Czardis anyways. 

Mamma. — There’s no better pomegranates in all Floridy than 
what’s right above yoirr head. Iffen pomegranates were 
needed (o faint tremor in her voice) we would take him his 
own. 

Jim. — {Anxiously) Is papa feelin’ too poorly to relish ’em? 

Mamma. — {Hesitates) Yes ... I reckon he is. . . . You’d best 
got to know, Jim . . . papa won’t be like you recollect 
him. He’s been right sick . . . sicker’n I’ve let on to you 
till now. Dan’l were sech a baby when he seen him last that 
he won’t take any notice likely . . . but you’re older, son. 

Jim. — {Troubled) Mamma . . . 

32 



A TRIP TO CZARDIS 



Mamma. — Papa will look pale, and he won’t be as bright- 
mannered as you recollect. So don’t labor him with questions. 
Speak when it behooves you, and let him see you are upright. 

Jim. — Yes, mamma. {With anxious eagerness) He’s mendin’ now, 
though, ain’t he ? He’s gettin’ . . . 

Holly. — {Of, calling) Sun’s risin’, Mary. 

Mamma. — {Her voice receding as she walks away) Come along. 
We got to get started. 

Sound. — A horse whinnies. Stomping and the creaking and jingle 
of harness Jade in. 

Holly. — Climb up in back of your ma, young ’uns. I’ve bedded 
it down with straw to spare your bones some. 

Dan’l. — Ain’t you drivin’, Uncle Holly? 

Mamma. — Uncle Holly’s goin’ ahead of us in his own wagon. 
Get in, Dan’l. 

Jim. — Why do we got to take two wagons? Can’t we all ride 
together in Uncle Holly’s? 

Dan’l. — His horse goes faster’n ours. 

Holly. — {Brusquely) Climb in, you pesky little varmints, before 
I toss you in. 

Sound. — The scrape of shoe leather . . . the squeak of a spring. 

Mamma. — {Of) What are you doin’ back there. Holly? 

Holly. — I were fixin’ to put the top up. Could be you’d feel 
right glad to have it over you when we get to the highway. 

Mamma. — {Of) I thank you, but we’re all right as we are. 

Dan’l. — We don’t never have the top up lessen rain’s failin’. 

Holly. — {Muttering) There’s things a shield’d be needed against 
more’n rain. 

Jim. — What things. Uncle Holly? 

Holly. — {Embarrassed) Uh . . . er . . . why the sun, young 
’un. Hit’s like to be a turrible hot day. You’ll be plumb 
roasted time we get to Czardis. 

Dan’l. — I like feelin’ roasted. 



33 



BEST BROADCASTS OF 1938-39 

Mamma. — I been ridin’ vmder the open sky all my life. So has 
the boys. I guess we won’t change our ways today. 

Holly. — {Resignedly) Iffen that’s the way you feel, Mary, there’s 
no more to be said. I’ll go on now. 

Sound. — Receding footfalls on clay road. 

Holly. — {Off, calling back) Do I be gettin’ too far ahead, give 
a holler and I’ll slow her down. Giddyap. 

Sound. — Horse's hoofs, off, jog-trotting briskly away, continuing 
through next speeches. 

Dan’l. — {Excitedly) Betsy’s a-trottin’! Hurry, mamma, hurry! 

Sound. — A cluck to the horse . . . more hoofbeats come up .. . 
the pace quickens under the pattern of sound. 

Music. — Enters slowly. Joins and smothers the hoofbeats with 
an intensified variation of the opening melody. Sustained for 
a long interval. As it finally subsides, we hear 

Sound. — Hoofbeats, this time sharper and more staccato, as though 
falling on asphalt instead of clay. An old-fashioned auto 
horn sounds in the distance, and the wheezing noise of an ancient 
car comes up gradually. 

Dan’l. — {Cutting in and over car noise) Howdy! Yoo-hoo, Miz 
Fletcher ! 

Sound. — Roar of car passing, fading gradually into clop-clop 
of hoofbeats, which continue in background. 

Dan’l. — Jim! That were Fletcher’s truck went by us! 

Jim. — Sounded like it. 

Dan’l. — Miz Fletcher were sittin’ up on the front seat, and 
Clem were drivin’ it. {Disappointedly) Wonder why they 
didn’t holler back ? 

Jim. — ^Likely they didn’t hear you. That ol’ car makes sech a 
ruckus you couldn’t hardly hear a wildcat was he to howl 
in your ear. 

Dan’l. — {Wistfully) It do go fast, though. 

Jim. — Not so turrible fast. Were we to try, we could give ’em a 
right good race in the wagon. 



34 



A TRIP TO CZARDIS 



Dan’l. — (Doubtfully) Mebbe. 

Jim. — And I bet Uncle Holly could beat the puddin’ out of ’em 
with Betsy. 

Dan’l. — (Sighs) Jest the same, I’d admire to ride in a truck 
sometime. 

Jim. — Did I ride, I’d pick me somethin’ spryer’n Fletcher’s ol’ car. 

Sound. — “Beep-beep” of a modern motor horn and purr of auto 
passing at average speed; fades out quickly. Hoofbeats con- 
tinue in background. 

Jim. — Now there goes somethin’ like. 

Dan’l. — Hit sure were travelin’. And weren’t it a purty one! 

Jim. — You’ll see a heap jest as purty when we get to Czardis- 

Dan’l. — I already seen more’n I ever did before. 

Jim. — There do seem a plenty goin’ our way, a heap of wagons 
too. Must be market day. 

Dan’l. — (In high excitement) Oh, Jim! Then will I get to see the 
balloon man ? And the horses that makes music ? 

Jim. — Iffen hit’s market day, they’ll be there. 

Dan’l. — Mamma, is it market day today in Czardis ? (Mamma 
makes no reply) Is it, mamma ? 

Mamma. — You and Jim get your mind offen balloons and flyin’ 
horses and sech. We’ve no business that’ll take us to the 
market today, be they havin’ it or not. 

Dan’l. — (Plaintively) Aw, mamma! 

Mamma. — (Sternly) I don’t want to hear you frettin’, Dan’l, 
and I don’t want to hear you tormentin’ papa to take you, 
neither. 

Jim. — (Quickly) We won’t mamma. (In a low tone to Dan’l) 
Don’t take on, Dan’l. There’s a sight of things in Czardis 
besides the market. 

Dan’l. — (In an anxious whisper) Papa’ll buy us the ice-cream 
cones, won’t he? 

Jim. — You don’t want to go askin’ him fur ’em. 



35 



BEST BROADCASTS OF 1938-39 

Dan’l. — {Whimpering) But you told me . . . 

Jim. — {Cuts in) Hush up and have patience. We’ll get somethin’ 
sure. {In an efort to distract) Look! Ain’t that old man 
Bennet a turnin’ at the fork? 

Dan’l. — Where ? 

Jim. — Right up there ahead of us . . . ridin’ on that runty 
little black horse. We’ll be passin’ him in a second. 

Mamma. — {Severely) Don’t neither of you call to him or wave. 
Sit up tall, and look straight ahead like I do. 

Sound. — Hoojbeats come up and merge with those of a different 
tempo, which are gradually left behind. 

Mamma. — You stay that way now. We’re a-comin’ into Czardis' 
and it ain’t seemly for you to be lollin’ all over the wagon, 
peerin’ and hollerin’ at everybody you see. 

Jim. — But, mamma, should they call “howdy” to us first? 

Mamma. — {Bitterly) There’s a small risk of that. You do like I 
say, anyways. {Pause) 

Dan’l. — Ain’t it mannerly to call “howdy ” in Czardis ? {Mamma 
does not reply, and Dan’l speaks to Jim in a worried under- 
tone) Is mamma riled ? 

Jim. — Not truly, Dan’l. She jest . . . {He hesitates) 

Dan’l. — Why does she keep rompin’ on us fur? 

Jim. — {His growing bewilderment and apprehension escaping 
into his voice) I don’t rightly know. There’s things this 
momin’ I jest cain’t figger. 

Dan’l. — {After a pause) Jim! Why you lookin’ scairt? 

Jim. — Why, I ain’t! Whatever is there to be scairt of? {Laughs) I 
never see the like of you fur gettin’ notions. Look, Dan’l . . . 
rearin’ up there against the sky! 

Dan’l. — {Almost shouting) Hit’s the water tower! 

Jim. — That’s what it is. 

Dan’l. — I knowed it right off. Hit’s jest like you told, only it 
goes up higher. Hit’s higher’n even the big pine to Palmetto 
Swamp ! 

3 ^ 



A TRIP TO CZARDIS 



Jim. — And yonder’s the depot, where the trains come in from 
Jacksonville and sech. 

Sound. — Small-town street noises . . . creaking of wagons . . . 
clatter of horses’ hoofs ... an occasional ’’whoa” . . . now 
and then an auto horn, the roar of a motor, and the hum of voices. 
All this is heard clearly for a moment, then fades into 
background. 

Dan’l. — Does all these folks live here, Jim? 

Jim. — This here’s Main Street. All the stores mostly is along 
here, and the movin’ pitcher theayter. 

Dan’l. — {Breathlessly) Where’s that, Jim? Show me. 

Jim. — It’s down the block a piece . . . {In dismay) Mamma! 
Why’s Uncle Holly turnin’ off here? 

Mamma. — Because that’s the way we’re goin’. 

Jim. — Cain’t we keep along Main Street jest a little ways further ? 
Dan’l ain’t even . . . 

Sound. — Street noises flare up, then fade. The hoofbeats are now 
falling on cobblestones. 

Mamma. — {Almost pleadingly) Please, Jim! Don’t fuss. 

Dan’l. — I didn’t get to see the movin’ pitcher thea5rter. 

Jim. — Mebbee we can see it goin’ back. 

Dan’l. — Jim ! The gold ball ! 

Jim. — Why, so ’tis! That must be the courthouse, on’y we’re 
seein’ it sideways ’stead of straight on, or mebbee that’s 
the back of it. I’ve got kind of muddle-minded with all 
this twistin’ and turnin’ we’re doin’. 

Dan’l. — What’s the other big buildin’ ? The one with the 
wall all ’round it? Look, they got a bobbed- wire fence 
fixed on top of the wall! What’s the sense of that? Ain’t 
no bear nor wildcat could jump that high anyways, and 
they’d have a right hard time climbin’ them slippery stones. 

Jim. — ’T ain’t there to keep the beasts out. If I recollect right, this 
buildin’ is . . . 

Dan’l. — {Cuts in) I never see so many windows! And every 
one of ’em with rails acrost it. 



37 



BEST BROADCASTS OF 1938-39 



Jim. — Them ain’t rails. Them’re bars, made outen iron. This 
is . . . {He breaks off suddenly, then goes on in a shrill 
voice compounded of horror and incredulity) Mamma! Uncle 
Holly’s stopped here ! He’s hitchin’ up Betsy to a tree ! 

Mamma. — {Her voice deep vvith compassion) We come to where 
we were goin’, Jim. 

Sound. — Hoofbeats slowing to a walk, then stopping . . . creaking 
of wagon wheels ... a weary puff from the horse. 

Dan’l. — Can we get out, mamma? 

Mamma. — In a second, son. 

Dan’l. — Who’s that man Uncle Holly’s talkin’ to at the gate? 
Is he a soldier? {No one replies) Mamma! Look at all the 
men peerin’ out the windows. 

Holly. — {In a low voice) Hit’s all right, Mary. I talked to him, 
and he’ll let us in this way. Like I thought, they’s mostly 
gathered on the other side. 

Mamma. — Get out boys. 

Holly. — Hold your arms out, and I’ll lift you down. 

Dan’l. — Why do they have those things acrost the windows. 
Uncle Holly? Jim says they’re made outen iron. 

Jim. — {In a high, strained, unnatural voice, close to hysteria) 
Hush up, Dan’l! Don’t talk. Don’t say nothin’ more. We’re 
goin’ to see papa now, and he’s sick. Talkin’ makes him 
worse. He’s turrible sick . . . turrible, turrible sick. 

Music. — Tempestuous and somber. Sustained at length, then 
fading into 

Sound. — Footfalls of five people passing down stone corridor. 

Guard. — Jest come along this way, Miz Cameron. 

Sound. — Footfalls continue for a second, then halt ... a key 
grating in lock . . . the clang of a steel door being shut and 
locked again. 

Guard. — Right down the hall, ma’am, where the deputy’s 
standin’. He’s got the door open for you. 

Holly. — Me’n’ the boys’ll wait here a spell, Mary. You jest 
call us when you’re ready. 



A TRIP TO CZARDIS 



Jim. — {In a low voice) Mamma . . . 

Mamma. — Wait here with your uncle, now. {Huskily) I’m right 
proud of you, son. {A long pause) We’re here, Jim. 

Papa. — {Agonized) Mary! Mary! 

Man. — Momin’, Miz Cameron. 

Mamma. — Momin’, Reverend. 

Man. — I’ll be cornin’ back, Jim. Good-by, ma’am; God bless 
you and he’p you. 

Mamma. — I thank you. Reverend. 

Sound. — Slight creak of hinge . . . soft footfalls receding. 

Papa. — ^Let me holt you to me, Mary, honey. Let me feel you 
to me again! 

Mamma. — {Passionately) Jim! Jim! I ain’t never goin’ to let 
loose of you. Ain’t no one can make me. Ain’t no one . . . 
{Her voice breaks in a hard sob) 

Papa. — {Recovering) This ain’t the way fur me to act . . . 
makin’ the misery worse fur you. 

Mamma. — There’s no makin’ worse what I’m feelin’. 

Papa. — {Cuts in) Young ’uns come? 

Mamma. — {Controlling herself) Like you asked. They’re waitin’ 
with Holly. 

Papa. — I thank you, Mary. I know it were cmel hard on you to 
bring ’em. Mebbe I shouldn’t of asked it. But . . . 

Mamma. — Hit’s your right to see ’em, Jim. 

Papa. — You ain’t spoke to them? 

Mamma. — Only to tell ’em you were ailin’ bad. I’ll fetch ’em in 
now. {Calls softly) Holly! You can come along now. 

Papa. — {Quickly) Do they guess more’n you . . . 

Mamma. — Dan’l don’t. He’s too little. But Jim’s right sharp 
and . . . {Breaks off) Step in, boys, and greet your papa. 

Sound. — Creak of hinge. Brief, shuffling footsteps. 



39 



BEST BROADCASTS OF 1938-39 

Papa. — Momin’, Holly. . . . Jim! Dan’ll Hit’s a treat to see 
you, sons! It’s a treat to my heart. 

Mamma. — {Speaking after a silence) Have your feet froze to the 
ground that you can’t do nothin’ but stand there gapin’ ? 
Seems like you’d want to give your papa a hug after not 
seein’ him fiir so long. 

Dan’l. — {Shyly) Howdy, papa. 

Jim. — Oh, papa . . . 

Papa. — {Confused, tremulous laughter and broken endearments 
as first Jim, then Dan’l throw themselves into their father’s 
arms) 

Jim. — {His voice catching) I’m turrible happy to see you, papa! 

Papa. — {Jerkily) Me, too, Jim! Me, too, young ’im! And Dan’l! 
I’m like to squeeze the breath outen you both, I’m that glad. 

Dan’1. — We come aU the way in the wagon, papa. 

Papa. — That were quite a trip fur you, young feller. You ain’t 
done so much travelin’ yet. 

Dan’l. — I aimed to bring you my whistle, but Jim said it made 
too ptmy a sotmd fur a man. 

Papa. — Never mind, Dan’l. The thought you would want to 
bring it pleasures me more’n the finest whistle in the world. 

Mamma. — Jim, here, picked some pomegranates offen the tree 
to bring you, but . . . 

Papa. — Son, I’m mighty happy you recollected how I used to love 
them pomegranates. I thank you. I’m right proud of both 
of you and Dan’l. 

Holly. — Jim ... I hates to say it, and you too, Mary, but 
this feller outside says there ain’t much more’n 10 minutes 
now. Iffen you want to get the yotmg ’uns out, Mary . . . 

Jim. — D o we got to go? 

Papa. — Yes, son. 

Mamma. — {Uncontrollably) Oh, Jim! 

Papa. — {Gently) Best go now, Mary. I want you should be on 
the road before . . . 



40 



A TRIP TO CZARDIS 



Jim. — Can we come back soon, papa ? Might we could come back 
next week? 

Papa. — Come over here, son, and you too, Dan’l. Papa wants 
to say somethin’ fur you to hear. 

Dan’l. — Papa, will you . , . 

Mamma. — {Cutting in) Dan’l! Listen while your papa’s speakin’. 

Papa. — I want you should both grow up to be upright men. 
Take care of your mamma, and always do her biddin’. 

Jim. — {In a stifled voice) Yes, papa. 

Papa. — Mind against anger catchin’ you by the throat and 
blindin’ your eyes. Anger and hate . . . don’t never let 
them master you and drive you on. {A pause) I’m goin’ 
to give you my watch, Jim. You’re the oldest. I want you 
should keep it till you’re a grown man. And, Dan’l, here is 
the chain. That’s fur you. 

Holly. — Come on, young ’uns. Come along with me. 

Dan’l. — Ain’t mamma . . . 

Holly. — She’ll follow after. Come along. 

Dan’l. — {Of, voice receding) I thank you, papa. 

Papa. — {Desperately) Mary, honey! Mary, honey! 

Music. — Surges up menacingly, fades, and continues under 

Sound. — The clang of steel doors . . . heavy feet marching along 
stone corridor, at first muffled and distant, then increasingly 
loud and close. 

Music. — Up again, over marching feet. Both music and sound in- 
crease in force . . . fade quickly. 

Holly. — You want I should walk to the wagon with you, Mary? 
There’s a millin’ throng out there. 

Mamma. — {With still, cold hatred) Black-hearted trash! May 
what they’ve come to peer at rot their eyes in their heads! 
We’ll walk alone. Holly. You wait here. 

Sound. — A door opens. Then rises the muffled roar of a great crowd. 

Dan’l. — {Voice high with excitement) Look yonder at them trees! 
Every one full of folks, perched up like squirrels ! 



41 



BEST BROADCASTS OF 1938-39 

Jim. — (Shrill with shock and horror) Mamma! They’re a-peerin’ 
over the wall here 1 They’re . . . 

Mamma. — (Fiercely) Put your head up, son. Dan’l, catch a holt 
of my hand. Come along now, and don’t waste one look at 
that swarm of carrion flies! 

Sound. — Crowd noises up to a roar, long and terrifying. Abruptly 
they are cut off. A short pause. 

Music. — The opening theme holds softly for a time, then fades to 
the regular clop-clop of horses' hoofs. 

Sound. — Exactly as in earlier scenes, sustained for a full half 
minute, then fading into background. 

Jim. — Mamma? 

Mamma. — Yes, Jim. 

Jim. — (Chokingly) Is papa . . . cornin’ home with Uncle Holly ? 

Mamma. — Yes, son. 

Jim. — (Sobs) 

Dan’l. — We never got our ice-cream cones, did we, Jim? 

Jim. — (Sobs are louder, more convulsive) 

Dan’l. — Don’t take on. We got somethin’ better. We got a 
watch and chain, Jim. 

Jim. — (Through his weeping) Dan'l . . . he don’t know, mamma. 

Mamma. — No, son. 

Sound. — The hoofbeats become more insistent under Jim's sobs. 

Dan’l. — (With slow, happy wonder) I never see sech a place as 
Czardis ! 

Music. — Welling up in quick climax. 



42 



BEST ONE-ACT PLAY ADAPTATION 



Blood of the Martyrs 

A one-act play by Percival Wilde 
Based on a short story by Stephen Vincent Ben^t 

Radio adaptation by Donald Macfarlane 

I T IS indeed remarkable to find a play that has been 
through so many processes of change without having suf- 
fered losses in both meaning and playing power. The privi- 
lege of usurpation that the motion picture industry has 
given itself in matters of adaptation is of course well known 
and widely decried, and it is interesting to note in this 
connection that Hollywood’s most artistic efforts have 
invariably been those in which the film translation has 
effected the closest possible parallel of the original that 
photography can devise. This derives, of course, from the 
inescapable rule that to outrage the structure of the play 
is to outrage the play. Radio has been far more accurate 
in its adaptations and interpretations of good plays and 
good stories and good books than the picture people have, 
and the probable reason is that in radio the responsibility 
for adaptation is fixed on only one or two people. “Blood 
of the Martyrs” survived its various transformations only 
because of this fact. 

The play that follows — the most direct and powerful 
denunciation of totalitarianism that radio has thus far 
presented — was first a short story. It was the work of 
Stephen Vincent Benet and was published in The Saturday 
Evening Post. Structurally it was already furnished with 
the implements necessary for its conversion to a one-act 
play. The story impressed Percival Wilde with its force 
and dramatic tension, and he asked for permission to redo 
the piece as a play. The play was published in the Septem- 
ber, 1937, issue of the One Act Play Magazine and was 



43 



BEST BROADCASTS OF 1938-39 

accompanied by a statement from Mr. Wilde that so 
thoroughly illuminates the problem met with that his 
remarks have been reproduced in full. What he has said 
applies with almost equal directness to the problem of the 
radio adapter. The radio adaptation of Mr. Wilde’s play, 
based on Mr. Benet’s story, has faithfully observed the 
ground rules of all adaptation: the adapter may do any- 
thing with any piece, whether poetry, prose, or drama, that 
truthfully translates to radio the import, the flavor, and , 
the purpose of the original in its fullest possible integrity. 
Adaptation, in its simplest definition, is a transplantation ! 
from one medium to another of a series of sympathies and I 

antipathies already established in the original. These are I 

sacred, belonging to the first writer. They cannot be out- I 
raged, and they cannot be neglected. ^ 

Percival Wilde, with 1 1 7 one-act plays to his credit, can 
be trusted with the property of other writers. Donald 
Macfarlane, the radio adapter, has been equally scrupulous, 
and the result is a memorable radio play, authentically 
telling the same story that Mr. Benet wanted us to hear in 
the first place. * 

It was performed on the evening of December 7, 1938, f 

over station WQXR in New York City. * 

Here is Mr. Wilde’s statement. 

Mr. Ben^t is a poet who has brought to his prose writing the 
spiritual and imaginative qualities that characterize his verse. 

His conception, in the short story which became the basis of the 
present play, may be stated concisely: if the scientist does not 
teach the objective truth as he knows it, there will be an end to 
continuity and to science. Many men have sought the truth, but 
have, in these horrible days, compromised with their consciences 
so that they might continue to work; but to the true scientist 
compromise is unthinkable. It is better for him to die at his post 
than to lend the weight of his authority to the spread of false 
beliefs, and this is both the tragedy and the trivimph of Malzius : 
if there are enough men like him the world will eventually emerge 
from the quagmire of expedient creed into which the dictators 
have led it. “The blood of the martyrs,’’ declared TertuUian, 

“is the seed of the Church.’’ In these times the blood of the 
martyrs is the seed of liberalism and science and truth. 

U 



BLOOD OF THE MARTYRS 



It is important and interesting, I think, to make clear what in 
the play is Mr. Bendt’s, and what is mine, though I have at- 
tempted, in adapting it for the stage, to work in the spirit which 
animated him. The original short story began in Malzius’ cell. 
He is resting, “fairly well over his last beating,” and the author 
tells us something of his past. He is brought before the General, 
under whom he has suffered, and the Dictator, whose “picture 
had presided over his beatings,” and whom he now meets for 
the first time. He is given the choice between becoming president 
of the new National Academy and proving by scientific law 
“that certain races — our race in particular — are destined to rule 
the world” — and proving everything else the Dictator preaches 
— or of returning to “the process of rehabilitation.” He knows 
that if he is beaten again he may give in; therefore he takes 
action so drastic that it leads to his instant death. He is hurried 
to the stake and is shot; “ But Professor Malzius did not hear the 
three commands of the officer. He was thinking about the young 
men.” 

Here is a noble story, and one which should not be quickly 
forgotten. In making it into a play I could not artistically begin 
with the cell and then change the scene to the General’s room, so 
I chose to place most of the action in the cell itself and have the 
Dictator and the General come there. In the story the desk, 
chairs, and the inkwell which is to figure so prominently in the 
action are naturally among the furnishings of the General’s room; 
in the play the business of carrying them in is a logical change, 
and permits me to draw attention to the inkwell several times 
before it is used. Mr. Ben^t, with the same careful technique, 
refers to it three times before his climax. 

It was necessary to make clear the initial situation, but the 
dramatist, unlike the prose writer, cannot relate what is in the 
mind of a character. I therefore attempted to invent a series of 
scenes which would lead, with ascending interest, to the point 
after the entrance of the Dictator where Mr. Ben^t’s razor-keen 
dialogue first commences. The opening scene, with the voices of 
unseen speakers, is pure invention.* Malzius interrupts it — an 
essential part of the preliminary exposition — with a few lines 
spoken while he is “only partially awake.” This is again in- 
vention, as is the long student scene which follows. It is necessary 
to make concrete and visible the background the poet had in 
mind but did not detail himself, and I have tried to carry out 
his thoughts by placing in the mouths of the characters, notably 

* Omitted in the radio version. 



45 



BEST BROADCASTS OF 1938-39 

Gregopoulos, many of the descriptive phrases which occur in the 
story. Wissotzski, Ellermann, Anton, Max and Elsa are invented; 
Bonnard, who according to the story, is a professor living in 
Paris, is made a student and is assigned important speeches, 
based, so far as possible, on the story. For this liberty I trust 
Mr. Bendt will pardon me; and since he did not state what the 
students were plotting, I took it upon myself to rectify the 
omission. 

The scene of the two troopers is pme invention, necessary both 
as a cover scene and as clarification. It is illuminated by a single 
speech of Malzius taken directly from the story. 

The torture chamber and the scene which occurs in it are 
invented. It is indispensable to show the fate of the students. 
They must die, but if they die at the end of the scene, anticlimax 
will follow. The action, therefore, returns to the front scene, and 
the “muffled report of a volley” ten minutes later is an attempt 
not only to answer every question dealing with the students, but 
to punctuate effectively the point at which the main action is 
about to ascend to a higher plane of interest. For the General’s 
long speeches and his colloquy with one of the prisoners I alone 
•am to blame — but the General’s allusion to Bonnard is essential 
preparation for the reference to Bonnard’s protest which is to 
occur later. In his story the poet speaks frequently of Bonnard: 
“An excellent man in his field”; “deplorably Hke an actor, with 
his short gray beard, his pink cheeks and his impulsive enthu- 
siasms”; “a fellow who signed protests.” Since this material 
could not be used in the play, other preparational material had 
to be devised. 

The following scenes with the Dictator and the General are 
ninety per cent Mr. Bendt’s, expressed, so far as possible, in his 
own words, descriptive matter being frequently transformed into 
dialogue. Mr. Bendt states, for instance, “He paused again, 
seeing their faces before him.” I allow Malzius to state that he 
is weak, “so when I speak of the young men I seem to see them,” 
again drawing heavily on Mr. Benet’s descriptions. 

In the grandly conceived ending of the story Professor Malzius 
“was thinking about the young men.” I, needing a visible scene, 
took the liberty of inventing the faces of the dead — and the 
cheering — and the sudden silence — and the lines which terminate 
the play. Having actually introduced the students, I could use 
them again — carrying a step farther Mr. Bendt’s thought that 
Malzius, without his glasses and dizzy on his way to execution, 
“could see them very plainly ... all the men whom he had 

46 



BLOOD OF THE MARTYRS 



taught.” Finally Malzius, studying the Dictator while in his 
presence, is reminded of a deranged woman Charcot showed in 
his clinic many years before and diagnoses an endocrine un- 
balance plus hysteria. It is logical to emphasize the latter and to 
bring down the curtain on an outburst in that vein. 

What is good about the play, the lofty conception, the per- 
vading spiritual quality, the thought that ‘‘the important thing 
was the truth” is Mr. Bendt’s. The working out in terms of 
theatre and the attempt to devise a scene sequence which can- 
not possibly rise to the high poetic level of the story are mine. 



47 



Blood of the Martyrs* 

goooooafl.ait.aflA.aAfljflfl.itflAaflflggaoaaoooi taflooQQOQOQQo , 

Announcer. — Tonight the Contemporary Theatre presents 
“Blood of the Martyrs” by Percival Wilde, based on a 
story by Stephen Vincent Benet. 

The gesture of this play is a decided stand against a certain 
doctrine . . . not in any one land . . . but an5rwhere and 
everywhere. It may be noted in passing that the expression 
of opinion at variance with that of the party in power is 
treasonable, in the present year of grace, in the majority of 
European countries. 

Music. — Up and under. 

Narrator. — As the curtain rises, we distinguish a man lying on 
a cot in a dungeon. His limbs are frail. His back, if he were 
standing, would be marked by an academic stoop. His front 
teeth have been broken, and some of them are missing. His 
eyes have been closed in sleep, but we find him just at the 
point of waking. 

Malzius. — Gentlemen, do not beat me again. This body of mine 
cannot stand it. It is sixty-two years old, and its blood 
count is poor. You follow me? At your service, gentlemen: 
Malzius; Professor Gregor Malzius. Possibly you have heard 
the name. {Yawns . . . chuckles) Benedictus Dominus! 

Music. — Up and under. 

Narrator. — In a secluded room in another part of the town is 
a group of graduate students and laboratory assistants, all 
devoted followers of the great scientist. Professor Malzius. 
They have not heard that their idol is in prison. 

* Copyright, 1937, 1939, by Percival Wilde. Permission to produce the 
play on which the broadcast version is based must be obtained in advance 
from Samuel French, Inc., 25 West 45 Street, New York City, or Walter H. 
Baker Co., 178 Tremont Street, Boston, Mass., from whom the printed 
text of the play may be obtained. Permission to broadcast the present radio 
version must be obtained in advance from either of the above agents or 
from Columbia Artists, Inc., 485 Madison Avenue, New York City. The 
radio version is printed here by special arrangement with Mr. Wilde. 



BLOOD OF THE MARTYRS 



Bonnard. — {Forty odd, a typical Frenchman) Flemming saize 



Ellermann. — {In the thirties) What is the difference what he 
says? 

Bonnard. — He saize, like Virchow, “Omnis nucleus e nucleo.” 
Like “Omnis cellula e cellula.” W’at iss, iss not new. It iss 
from somet’ing else. Zere iss ze chenetic continuity of 
cells . . . 

Ellermann. — But we have come here to learn what Malzius 
says! 

Max. — Vivat I 

Elsa. — Vivat Malzius! 

WissoTZSKi. — Malzius, the Bear! Ursus Major! Floreat! Vivat! 

Ellermann. — You, Bonnard, from the Sorbonne, Paris; me, 
Ellermann . . . 

Anton. — {Interrupting) Yes, we all know you travel three 
hundred and eighteen miles when you visit the girl with the 
yellow eyes ! 

Ellermann. — {Nothing daunted) There, Elsa, she travels further. 

Elsa. — Gregopoulos comes from Athens. 

Gregopoulos. — {With a strong foreign accent hut with fluency) 
Many years ago. Now I am naturalized. 

Max. — The best of the young men : Malzius always gets them ! 

Elsa. — And the young women, too! 

WissoTzsKi. — Me. You. Us. 

Max. — He says so himself. 

Anton. — The Bear: Malzius! 

WissoTzsKi. — Cellular phenomena: Malzius! 

Bonnard. — ’E woot explain ze last judgment in tairms of cellular 
phenomena. 

Anton. — He would explain the present regime in terms of 
celltdar phenomena. 



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BEST BROADCASTS OF 1938-39 

Gregopoulos. — That is easy: certain cells of the body rebel 
against the normal processes of nature and set up their own 
warlike state. Like the others, they, too, have a destiny: 
but we call it cancer. 

Ellermann. — For God’s sake, Gregopoulos! 

Gregopoulos. — As I shall demonstrate in an essay, the new 
regime is a cancer, gnawing away all that is healthy in the 
nation. 

WissOTZSKi. — Cut it out before it destroys everything! 

Gregopoulos. — Let the people know their danger! 

Elsa. — That is what we learn from cellular phenomena! 

Gregopoulos. — We must not wait long. This morning a band 
of hoodlums drove out Bremond. . . . 

Bonnard. — No ? Not really ? 

Gregopoulos. — You were not there, Bonnard, but we know, we 
others. They marched into the lecture room where Bremond 
was demonstrating. They smashed his slides. They spat on 
his prepared specimens. They scrawled, “Long live the 
state!” on the blackboard. They hooted Brdmond from the 
platform. 

Anton. — They would never dare to do that to Malzius. 

Max. — You cannot be sure. . . . 

Elsa. — But why? Why? Science is science! The truth is the 
truth! 

WissOTZSKi. — Not to the tyrant who has seized this nation by 
the throat ! 

Ellermann. — Hush, Wissotzski ! 

Gregopoulos. — Why should he not speak? To speak, that is the 
important thing. What Elsa says is right. Science is science. 
When I look through a lens into worlds too tiny for the un- 
aided eye, I see truth; but when I look at the world about 
me, at the land which was ours and is now theirs, I see 
nothing but Ues. 

Bonnard. — W’at iss it to you? One gouvemement iss as goot as 
anozzer. 



50 



BLOOD OF THE MARTYRS 



Ellermann. — G regopoulos, you have no quarrel with any 
government. Hang out any flag they want. Stand at atten- 
tion. Salute. Scream, “Hail! Hail! Long live the state!” 

Elsa. — S o long as the truth is the truth! 

Anton. — W ill they leave their hands off Malzius ? 

Gregopoulos. — T hey should. The scientist is concerned with the 
eternal, not with transient political phenomena. . . . 

Ellermann. — {Horrified) “Transient?” Gregopoulos, be careful! 

Gregopoulos. — T ransient I said, and transient I meant. Long 
after the Dictator is gone, the name of Malzius will be 
remembered. 

Ellermann. — F or God’s sake ! 

Gregopoulos. — I ask you, which one is the glory of this country: 
Malzius, because of whom thousands who should be dead 
are alive, or the Dictator, because of whom thousands who 
should be alive are dead ? 

Ellermann. — G regopoulos, this is treason! 

Elsa. — T reason ? Pfft ! 

WissOTzsKi. — We had a meeting last night. . . . 

Ellermann. — D on’t tell me anything about it! 

Gregopoulos. — W hy not? Tell him everything about it. 

WissoTzsKi. — We were all there . . . except Bonnard. Max . . . 
Anton . . . Gregopoulos . . . Elsa. . . . 

Elsa. — W e must have freedom even under the new regime. 

Gregopoulos. — T o talk of a free world is a delusion. Men are 
not free in this world. 

Anton. — T he world should be like a chemical formula: full of 
reason and logic. 

Gregopoulos. — W e will make it so! The cancer cries out for 
treatment ! 

Elsa. — I n otu: first number we are publishing . . . 

{Fade out) 

Ellermann. — I wall hear no more. 



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Sound. — Door slams. Pause. 

Anton. — I s he safe ? 

E LS A . — Perfectly . 

Anton. — W ill he tell ? 

Elsa. — E llermann? Never! 

WissoTzsKi. — When our magazine comes out he’ll shake his 
finger at us, but he’ll read it. 

Bonnard. — G o on. I shoot like to ’ear more. 

Gregopoulos. — B onnard, are you on our side ? 

Bonnard. — I f I muss choos sides, yes; but I prefair not to choos. 
I find it amusant; ze passwairds; ze bar of musique you 
w’istle in answer. Like a game . . . 

Elsa. — I t is more than a game. 

Bonnard. — I t iss a shildish game of conspiracy! So stupide! 
So ’opeless! You come ’ere from efferyw’ere. You wear 
sheap clothes. You eat ze bad, starchy foot of ze poor 
restaurants. You haf seelly leetle lof affairs, an’ you play 
shildish games of politics . . . instead of doing your wairk. 
W’at woot Malzius say? 

Elsa. — L ast night Malzius was with us! 

Bonnard. — {Thunderstruck) No! 

WissoTzsKi. — He didn’t want to come. . . . 

Bonnard. — {Raging) You shoot not haf asked him! 

Elsa. — W e can trust him. . . . 

Bonnard. — ’E does not want to be trusted! 

Elsa. — W e have brought him oirr other problems. . . . 

Bonnard. — S o you muss bring ’im zese, also ? Seely leetle dogs, 
trotting to ’im wiss yotu stupide bones in ze mouth ? Politics ? 
Politics? Politics? For you . . . pair’aps! Only pair’aps! 
But for Malzius, neffer! For Malzius ze pure lof of science! 
Ze scientis’ shoot be able to lif anyw’ere ! 

Gregopoulos. — L isten, Bonnard: we met, more than twenty 
of us. We planned . . . 



52 



BLOOD OF THE MARTYRS 



Anton. — {Lowering his voice) We planned , . . 

Max. — We must have freedom! 

Elsa. — The people must be warned of the danger! 
Gregopoulos. — We shall publish what we please! 

Bonnard. — An’ Malzius haird ? 

Anton. — He sat there and laughed. 

Bonnard. — I weesh zat I, too, coot laugh, but I cannot. Shildren 
shoot not play wiss fire! Tomorrow I leaf for Paris. 

Elsa. — We are neither communists nor Fascists. But free- 
dom . . . 

Gregopoulos. — Intellectual freedom . . . 

WissoTzsKi. — We have a right to that! 

Elsa. — We shall take the right! 

Max. — We planned . . . 

Anton — ^Very secretly we planned . . . 

Sound. — Kick door. 

Voice. — Open in the name of the state! 

All. — {Ad lib terrified whispers.) 

It’s the troopers ! 

The troopers ! 

They must have followed us ! 

Be quiet ! Say nothing ! Be quiet ! 

Sound. — Door crashes open. 

Voice. — ^Long live the state! 

Gregopoulos. — What is it you want ? 

Voice. — You are all under arrest. 

All. — {Ad libs) 

Voice. — ^L ong live the state! 

Music. — Up and Jade out. 



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BEST BROADCASTS OF 1938-39 

Narrator. — The scene changes to the prison in which Professor 
Malzius is confined. 

Sound. — Opening of prison door. All metal. 

{Fade in, as if echo of previous line) 

Otto. — L ong live the state! 

{Fade in) 

Rolf. — {Who has been drinking) Long live the state! 

Sound. — Close door. 

Otto. — He’s asleep. 

Rolf. — The pig dog! Pig dog Malzius! 

Otto. — {Scornfully) Professor Malzius. 

Rolf. — Pig dog professor! 

Otto. — Who can’t see a foot without his glasses! 

Rolf. — I broke them once when I knocked him down. You 
wouldn’t hardly believe it, Otto: he was like a woman. He 
didn’t have no strength at all. 

Otto. — Broken glasses! Much he can see through them! 

Rolf. — ^Lucky I was careful, like I always am, or I’d have cut 
my knuckles on them glasses. 

Otto. — You ought to know better than to hit a man wearing 
glasses. 

Rolf. — {Incredulously) Not hit him? 

Otto. — Not hit him with your fist. Hit him with a club. 

Rolf. — N ex’ time I’ll let him have it with the butt of my pistol! 

Otto. — We got to wake him up. The General is coming. {Lowers 
voice) They say maybe His Excellency is coming with the 
General. 

Rolf. — What ? 

Otto. — {Lowering his voice still more) The Dictator . . . 

Rolf. — The Dictator coming to see Malzius? Never! 

Otto. — We got orders to wake him. 

54 



BLOOD OF THE MARTYRS 



Rolf. — ^Let me do it, Otto. {He expectorates) Wake up, pig dog 
professor ! 

Otto. — {Chuckling) He didn’t move. 

Rolf. — They sleep good after one of our treatments. Best thing 
in the world for in-so-mon-i-a. {He kicks him) Wake up, 
Malzius ! 

Malzius. — {Suddenly waking) Long live the state! 

Otto. — A hell of a lot you care about it! 

Rolf. — Attention! Pig dog! Malzius, when I call you “pig dog” 
answer, “Present.” . . . Pig dog! 

Malzius. — Present. 

Rolf. — Pig dog! 

Malzius. — Present. 

Rolf. — {Delighted) See? He learns quick! 

Otto. — He better or we’ll learn him. 

Rolf. — Pig dog, what do you know about the traitors ? 

Malzius. — Nothing. 

Rolf. — He don’t know nothing. He says so himself, and he’s 
a professor! 

Otto. — What was they planning to do? 

Rolf. — Tell us about them, and we won’t hurt you . . . much. 

Malzius. — In God’s name, gentlemen, what sort of conspirator 
do you think I would make ? A man of my age and habits ? 
I am interested in cellular phenomena. 

Rolf. — {Laughing) That’s a good one! Say, Otto, I guess pig 
dog Malzius has seen lots of cellular phenomena right in 
this here cell! Ho! Ho! Ho! Ho! 

Otto. — {Laughing) Cellular phenomena is right ' 

Rolf. — He’s gonna see some more right now, the pig dog! Pig 
dog! He didn’t say “Present.” Watch me have a little fim 
with him. 

Otto. — Not now. 



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BEST BROADCASTS OF 1938-39 

Rolf. — ^Listen. This here’s a new belt, and it’s got a big heavy 
buckle, and I ain’t a-goin’ to hurt my knuckles. . . . 

Otto. — After the General is through with him; not now. The 
General is coming. ... You know it as well as I do . . . 
and maybe His Excellency, too; and if you’re not careful, 
the General may have a little fun himself . . . with you! 
The General is a great one for having fim. The General’s 
got his own ideas about different kinds of ftm. . . . 

Music. — Up and under. 

Narrator. — The scene changes to the chapel of an old church 
now used for purposes of the state. A light falls only upon 
the pulpit, but in the shadows we discern various human 
forms that seldom move. One of them is a woman. 

Sound. — Metal latch and door creak. 

Voice. — Attention ! 

All. — Long live the state. 

Sound. — Door creak . . . slam . . . latch. 

(Fade in) 

General. — ^Long live the state. 

Sound. — Feet ascending to pulpit. 

General. — Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. I beg your 
pardon: lady and gentlemen. Though you are fewer than 
you were when we met, nearly four months ago, it is a pleas- 
ure to see you again. You are doubtless surprised to note that 
I, a full general, am relieving the jtmior officer who has been 
in charge of your exercises during so many happy weeks, 
but we feel that we have already wasted too much time on 
you. I miss Ellerman . . . that promising young man who 
insisted he had attended none of your meetings. 

Elsa. — Neither he had. 

General. — Indeed? He was so stout in his denials . . . and in 
his protestations that you were all innocent , . . that we 
were particularly attentive to him. It is unfortimate that he 
succumbed to heart failure. 



Elsa. — He was shot. 

56 



BLOOD OF THE MARTYRS 



General. — You exaggerate, dear lady. It was heart failure, 
exactly as with our amusing little friend, Wissotzski: he 
used to hop about so comically while he was being beaten 
. . . and that charming young girl with the dark hair ... I 
forget her name . . . and the tall man who limped . . . 
and the gentleman with the Greek name. . . . 

Elsa. — Gregopoulos. 

General. — That was it: Gregopoulos, author of a brilliant if 
unpublished essay entitled, “Man’s Right to Freedom.” 
Whether from heart failure or from some other cause, 
Gregopoulos is now thoroughly deceased. He is as dead 
as Miltiades. And there must be others that I have for- 
gotten. Let me see: there were nearly two dozen of you in 
the beginning. Malzius is still alive: yes, we have him safe 
elsewhere. Bonnard has returned to Paris: how like a 
Frenchman! It appears that he was in the habit of calling 
daily at the French embassy, and they made representations 
immediately he was missed. We beat him and turned 
him loose. I may tell you this state secret because you will 
never tell it to anybody. Your dossier is about to be closed. 
Where was I? Since there are only four of you left . . . 
plus Malzius and Bonnard is six . . . and you were orig- 
inally two dozen, there are a ntunber to be accounted for. I 
cannot do it. My arithmetic is horrible. {Pauses . . . 
speaks more sternly) You planned, a handful of you, to 
overturn the state! Two dozen traitors against fifty million 
people! You deserve the worst, and you shall have it! At 
the outset we were patient with you. Your memories were 
faulty, and we endeavored to stimulate them with exercises 
. . . which became brisker only gradually. We got nothing 
out of you . . . except heroics . . . and the trouble with 
heroics is that they require an appreciative audience. With- 
out one they are only damp squibs. Nevertheless you per- 
sisted. . . . Well, my patience is at an end. The Dictator 
is honoring us with a visit this afternoon, and he must not 
breathe the air which you pollute. You have information 
which he should like to possess: names; addresses. For a 
final ten minutes the officer in charge will question you 
vugently . . . most urgently. When the ten minutes expire 
... so will you! Lady and gentlemen . , . long live the 
state ! 

Music . — Up and fade out. 



57 



BEST BROADCASTS OF 1938-39 

Otto. — Stand straighter, Malzius. 

Malzius. — I t is difficult. 

Rolf. — Difficult ? 

Malzius. — The knee has been badly set . . . and there are two 
broken ribs. 

Otto. — Straighter ! 

Rolf. — I’ll make him stand straighter! 

Malzius. — {Groans) 

Rolf. — There. 

Otto. — Careful, Rolf! {To Malzius) Put on your glasses, you 
old fool ! The General is coming here. 

Rolf. — Well, why don’t you put them on? 

Malzius. — The glasses — I cannot see them. 

Otto. — Here they are. 

Malzius. — {Putting them on) There is a crack in the left lens. 
Voice. — {Outside) Attention! 

Otto. — Attention ! 

Sound. — Metal door opens. 

General. — Well, Professor? 

Malzius. — {Surprised) Long live the state! 

Sound. — Metal door closes. 

General. — ^Long live the state ! (As though looking Malzius over) 
Hmmm ... so ... a well-trained animal, Rolf. 

Voice. — {Outside) Attention! 

Otto. — Attention ! 

Sound. — Door opens . . . marching feet come in. 

All. — ^Long live the state ! 

Dictator. — ^Long live the state ! 



Sound. — Door closes. 

5 ^ 



BLOOD OF THE MARTYRS 



Dictator. — Corporal ! 

Corporal. — Yes, Your Excellency. 

Dictator. — Place the desk and chair here. 

Corporal. — Yes, Your Excellency. 

Dictator. — Be sure that pen and paper are there also . . . and 
. . . the ink, of coiuse. 

Corporal. — Yes, Your Excellency. 

Sound. — Desk on floor, chair, paper, inkwell. 

General. — Careful. . . . You nearly spilled the ink. 

Dictator. — Is this . . . Malzius ? 

General. — Yes, Your Excellency. 

Dictator. — Tell the man to come closer. . . . Can he hear me ? 
Is he deaf ? 

General. — No, Yotu* Excellency. He is a little old, though 
perfectly healthy. . . . Are you not. Professor Malzius ? 

Malzius. — Yes, I am perfectly healthy. ... I am very well 
treated here. 

Dictator. — Come closer. 

Malzius. — {Speaking nervously, automatically) I have been very 
well treated here, and the General has acted with the 
greatest consideration. But I am Professor Gregor Malzius 
. . . professor of biochemistry. For thirty years I have lec- 
tured at the university; I am a Fellow of the Royal Society, 
a corresponding member of the Academies of Sciences at 
Berlin, at Rome, at Boston, at Paris, and at Stockholm. 
I have received the Nottingham Medal, the Lamarck 
Medal, the Order of St. John of Portugal and the Nobel 
Prize. I think my blood coxmt is low, but I have received 
a great many degrees, and my experiments on the migratory 
cells are not finished. I do not wish to complain of my 
treatment, but I must continue my experiments. {He stops, 
like a clock that has run down) 

Dictator. — {In a harsh, toneless voice) Yes, Professor Malzius, 
there has been a regrettable error. In these days the nation 
demands the submission of every citizen. {His voice rises 



59 



BEST BROADCASTS OF 1938-39 

and falls jerkily . . . his speech is that of a neurotic) En- 
circled by jealous foes, our reborn land yet marches forward 
toward her magnificent destiny. We have overcome obstacles. 
It is because we have within us the will to conquer. Jealous 
and spiteful tongues in other coimtries have declared that 
it is our purpose to wipe out learning and science. That 
is not our intention. There has been a cleansing, but after 
the cleansing, the rebirth. We mean to move forward to the 
greatest science in the world; our own science, based on 
the enduring principles of our nationhood. 

Malzius. — (Hesitantly) I was part of the cleansing? You did not 
mean to hurt me ? 

General. — Yes, Professor Malzius, you were part of the cleans- 
ing. Now that is over. His Excellency has spoken. 

Malzius. — But I do not tmderstand. 

General. — (In a slow, careful voice) It is very simple. You are 
a distinguished man of science: you have received the 
Lamarck Medal and the Nobel Prize. That was a service 
to the state. You became, however, infected with the 
wrong political ideas. That was treachery to the state. 
You had, therefore, as decreed by His Excellency, to pass 
through a certain period of probation and rehabilitation. 
But that, we believe, is finished. 

Malzius. — You do not wish to know the names of the yoimg 
men any more? You do not want the addresses? 

Sound. — Rifle volley . . . 

General. — The names and addresses are no longer of im- 
portance. The conspirators have been caught and executed. 
There is no longer opposition. 

Malzius. — (Mec/tamVaWy) There is no longer opposition . . .oh! 

General. — In their testimony you were not even involved. 

Malzius. — I was not even involved . . . yes. 

General. — Now we come to the future. I will be frank. The new 
state is frank with its citizens. 

Dictator. — (A5 if in a dream) It is so. 

60 



BLOOD OF THE MARTYRS 



General. — There has been ... let us say ... a certain 
agitation in foreign countries regarding Professor Malzius. 
That means nothing, of course. Nevertheless, your ac- 
quaintance, Professor Bonnard, and others have meddled 
in matters that do not concern them. 

Malzius. — {Surprised) They asked after me? It is true, my 
experiments were reaching a point . . . 

Dictator. — {Interrupting) No foreign influence could turn us 
from otu* firm purpose. But it is our inflexible will to show 
our nation first in science and culture as we have already 
shown her first in manliness and statehood. For that reason 
you are here, Professor Malzius. 

Malzius. — {Trembling I do not understand. You will give me 
my laboratory back ? 

Dictator. — Yes. 

Malzius. — My post at the university? My experiments? 

Dictator. — It is the purpose of our regime to offer the fullest 
encouragement to our loyal sons of science. 

Malzius. — First of all, I must go to a hospital. My blood count 
is poor. But that will not take long. {His voice becomes 
impatient) Then . . . my notebooks were burned, I sup- 
pose. That was silly, but we can start in again. I have 
a very good memory, an excellent memory. The theories 
are in my head, you know. I must have assistants, of course; 
little Gregopoulos was my best one. . . . 

General. — {Sternly) The man Gregopoulos has been executed. 
You had best forget him. 

Malzius. — Oh? Well, then, I must have someone else. You see, 
these are important experiments. There must be some young 
men . . . clever ones. They cannot all be dead. I will 
know them. The Bear always got the pick of the crop. {He 
laughs a little nervously) They used to call me “the Bear,” 
you know. {He stops abruptly) YoMaxQ not . . . you are not 
fooling me 1 {He bursts into tears) 

Sound. — Cell door opens. 

Man. — ^Long live the state ! 

Dictator. — ^Long live the state ! 



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BEST BROADCASTS OF 1938-39 

Man. — Y ovir Excellency, the parade of the Young Guard is 
ready to proceed now. 

Dictator. — Very good ... I will review them. {Fading) Leave 
everything here. I shall return. 

Sound. — Footsteps march of. Cell door closes. 

General. — His Excellency forgives your unworthy suggestion. 
He knows you were overwrought. 

Malzius. — {Sobbing) Yes . . . 

General. — Come, come, we mustn’t have our new president 
of the National Academy crying! It would look badly in the 
photographs. 

Malzius. — {Quickly) President of the Academy? Oh, no! I 
mustn’t be that ! They make speeches; they have administra- 
tive work. I am a scientist; a teacher. 

General. — I’m afraid you can’t very well avoid it. Your induc- 
tion will be quite a ceremony. His Excellency himself will 
preside. And you will speak on the glories of our science. 
It will be a magnificent answer to the petty and jealous 
criticisms of our neighbors. (A.5 Malzius is about to interrupt) 
Oh, you needn’t worry about the speech! It will be pre- 
pared; you will only have to read it. His Excellency thinks 
of everything. 

Malzius. — Very well; and then may I go back to my work? 

General. — {Smiling) Oh, don’t worry about that! I’m only a 
simple soldier; I don’t know about those things. But you’ll 
have plenty of work. 

Malzius. — {Eagerly) The more the better. I still have ten good 
years. {He laughs) 

General. — Hmmm — let me look at you. . . . Well, well! The 
teeth must be attended to ... at once. (A 5 if to himself) 
And a rest, undoubtedly, before the photographs are taken. 
Milk. He should have milk. ... You are not feeling 
sufficiently well. Professor Malzius? 

Malzius. — I am very happy. I have been very well treated. I 
come of peasant stock, and I have a good constitution. 

General. — Good. {He pauses . . . speaks in a more official 
voice) Of course, it is imderstood. Professor Malzius . . . 

62 



BLOOD OF THE MARTYRS 



Malzius. — Yes? I beg your pardon, I was thinking of something 
else. 

General. — It is understood, Professor Malzius, that your . . . 
er . . . rehabilitation in the service of the state is a per- 
manent matter. Naturally you will be under observation, 
but even so there must be no mistakes. 

Malzius. — (Impatiently) I am a scientist. What have I to do 
with politics? If you wish me to take oaths of loyalty, I 
will take as many as you wish. 

General. — I am glad you take that attitude. I may say that I 
regret the unpleasant side of our interviews. I trust you 
bear me no ill will. 

Malzius. — Why should I be angry? You were told to do one 
thing. Now you are told to do another. That is all. 

General. — (Stiffly) It is not quite so simple as that. (Puzzled) 
And I’d have sworn you were one of the stiff-necked ones! 
(Pauses) Well, well, every man has his breaking point, 
I suppose. In a few moments you will receive the final 
commands of His Excellency. Tonight you will go to the 
capital and speak over the radio. You will have no difficulty 
there: the speech is written. But it will put a quietus on the 
activities of our friend, Bonnard, and the question that 
has been raised in the British Parliament. Then a few weeks 
of rest by the sea . . . and the dental work . . . and then, 
my dear president of the National Academy, you will be 
ready to undertake your new duties. I congratulate you 
and hope we shall meet often under pleasanter auspices. 

Voice . — Attention ! 

Sound. — Door opens. 

All. — ^Long live the state. 

Sound. — Footsteps march in , stop on cue. 

Dictator. — Is it settled? Good. Gregor Malzius, I welcome you 
into the service of the new state. You have cast your errors 
aside and are part of our destiny. 

Malzius. — Yes. I shall be able to do my work now. 

Dictator. — (Frowning) You will not only be able to continue 
your invaluable researches but you will also be able . . . 

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BEST BROADCASTS OF 1938-39 



and it will be part of your duty ... to further our national 
ideals. Our reborn nation must rule the world for the world’s 
good. There is a fire within us that is not in other peoples. 
Our civilization must be extended everywhere. The future 
wills it. It will furnish the subject of your first discourse as 
president of the Academy. 

Malzius. — (In a low voice) But I am not a soldier. I am a bio- 
chemist. I have no experience in these matters you speak of. 

Dictator. — You are a distinguished man of science. You will 
prove that our women must bear soldiers, our men abandon 
this nonsense of republics and democracies for trust in those 
bom to rule them. You will prove by scientific law that 
certain races . . . our race in particular . . . are destined 
to rule the world. You will prove that we are destined to 
rule by the virtues of war and that war is part of our heritage. 

Malzius. — But it is not like that. (Expressions of alarm) I mean 
in the laboratory one looks and watches. One waits for a 
long time. It is a long process, very long. And then, if the 
theory is not proved, one discards the theory. That is the 
way it is done. I probably do not explain it very well. But 
I am a biochemist : I do not know how to look for the virtues 
of one race as against another, and I can prove nothing about 
war, except that it kills. If I said anything else, the whole 
world would laugh at me. 

Dictator. — No one in this nation would laugh at you. 

Malzius. — But if they do not laugh at me when I am wrong 
then there is no science. (He pauses . . . earnestly) Do not 
misunderstand me. I have ten years of good work left. I 
want to get back to my laboratory. But you see, there are 
the young men . . . and if I am to teach the yoimg men 
... (He breaks off) You must pardon me. The food that 
is given me here is deficient in proteins. My blood count is 
poor, and I am weak; so when I speak of the yoimg men 
I seem to see them: the many who have passed through 
my classrooms. From all over the world they have come: 
Williams, the Englishman who died in the War; and little 
Gregopoulos. . . . 

General. — (warning him) Hmmm. , . . ! 

Malzius. — . . . with the fox terrier eyes; and Indians and 
Persians and South Africans and Chinese. They go, and if 

64 



BLOOD OF THE MARTYRS 



later on they die, that does not matter; but while they are 
with me they must be given the truth. . . . Otherwise there 
can be no contintuty and no science. 

Dictator. — {Sharply) I thought everything had been explained 
to Professor Malzius. 

Malzius. — W hy, yes. I will sign any papers. I assure you I am 
not interested in politics ... a man like myself, imagine! 
One state is as good as another. And I miss my tobacco . . . 
I have not smoked in months. I should hke to smoke. But 
you see, one cannot be a scientist and tell lies. {He pauses 
. . . then speaks in a low voice) What happens if I do not ? 

General. — {Sternly) Why, then, we shall resume our conversa- 
tions, Professor Malzius. 

Malzius. — {Simply) Then ... I shall be beaten again? 

General. — T he process of rehabilitation is obviously not quite 
complete, but perhaps in time . . . 

Malzius. — {Wearily) It will not be necessary. I cannot be 
beaten again. {Pause . . . then in a clear, changed voice) 
Call in your other officers. There are papers for me to sign. I 
should like all of them to witness. 

General. — {Surprised) Why . . . why . . . 

Dictator. — Y ou will feel so much better, Professor Malzius. I 
am so very glad you have given in. 

Malzius. — W hy, of course, I give in. Are you not the Dictator ? 
And besides, if I do not, I shall be beaten again . . . and I 
cannot . . . you understand? ... I cannot be beaten 
again. {He pauses, breathing hard) 

Dictator. — I am happy. I am very happy. Gentlemen ... I 
am glad you have come. We are receiving today into the 
service of the state the president of the new National 
Academy, our most distinguished scientist, the winner of 
the Lamarck Medal and the Nobel Prize, Professor Gregor 
Malzius. 

All . — {Slight applause) 

General . — {In an undertone) Take the pen. The inkwell is there. 
Professor Malzius. 



65 



BEST BROADCASTS OF 1938-39 



Malzius. — Is there plenty of ink in it ? 

General. — Plenty of ink. Now you may sign. 

Dictator. — In the name of the state, I welcome you. 

Malzius. — Ah yes . . . the ink . . . the ink. The state . . . 
the state. But science does not know about states. And you 
are a Uttle man ... a httle unimportant man ! 

Sound. — Almost the sound of a blow; followed by the fall of a small, 
heavy object on the floor. Malzius has thrown the inkwell at 
the Dictator. 

All. — {Ad libs continue) 

The inkwell ! 

He threw the inkwell ! 

In the Dictator’s face ! 

Treason! 

Look at His Excellency! 

Covered with ink ! 

Face and imiform ! 

Treason! 

General. — You dog of a traitor! 

Sound. — Blow. 

Malzius. — (Groan) 

All. — (Ad libs continue) 

Malzius. — (Hysterical laughing) 

Dictator. — Take that man out and shoot him at once! 

All. — (Ad libs . . . seizing prisoner) 

Sound. — Body blows. 

Malzius. — (Board fade laughing 

All. — (Board fade back in with less struggle) 

Narrator. — Professor Malzius is seized by the soldiers. He is 
led out into the courtyard to be executed. And as he stum- 
bles along in the hands of his captors, he seems to see the 
faces and hear the voices of the many, many students who 
have studied with him . . . and who have preceded him 
to death. 



66 



BLOOD OF THE MARTYRS 



Malzius. — {To himself) A schoolboy covered with ink! An hys- 
terical schoolboy, too! Such a man, such a face should not 
rule countries or young men ! But you cannot kill the truth ! 

Voices. — You cannot kill the truth! 

You cannot kill the truth! 

Music. — Up and under the following. 

Anton. — Malzius, the Bear! 

Gregopolous. — The pick of the crop ! 

Max. — The best of the young men! 

Elsa. — And the young women, too ! 

Anton. — Malzius, the Bear! 

WissoTzsKi. — Ursus Major! 

Elsa. — You cannot kill the truth! 

{Start Board fade) 

Anton. — Vivat ! 

Elsa. — Malzius ! 

Gregopolous. — Malzius ! 

Music. — Out sure. 

{Board cut and open full) 

Officer. — Make ready! Aim! Fire! 

Sound. — Rifle volley. 

General. — {Sententiously) If bullets ,can kill, there died an 
enemy of the state ! 

Dictator. — But what . . . what {his voice rises to a hysterical 
scream) if bullets cannot kill ? 

Music. — Up and under narrator. 

Narrator. — The play is ended. The curtain slowly falls as the 
two fanatics face each other in silence. 

Music. — Up and under . . . out on cue. 

Announcer. — You have just heard the premiere performance of 
the series entitled The Contemporary Theatre which comes 
to you as a presentation of the Federal Radio Theatre, a 

67 



BEST BROADCASTS OF 1938-39 



project of the Works Progress Administration. Tonight’s 
play was Percival Wilde’s “Blood of the Martyrs,” based 
on a story by Stephen Vincent Benet. The plays in this 
series are adapted for radio and produced by Donald 
Macfarlane. 

Voice One. — For your information! 

Voice Two. — Every week the Federal Theatre brings to your 
neighborhood new and vital plays ... at neighborhood 
prices. For dates and locations, see your newspaper ... or 
call Murray Hill 4-5903 . . . Murray Hill 4-5903. 

Announcer. — On the stage . . . and on the air . . . The 
Federal Theatre is your theatre!* 

{Station signature) 

* The Federal Theatre Project was liquidated by Act of Congress, Jime 

30, 1939 - 






68 



BEST QUIZ SHOW 



Information Please 

}oooQQQQQQagogopQ OQ goao gfiggfl.goggflooooaaoaagggaoo 

T his weekly broadcast stands out as a good-natured 
refutation of a theory long entertained by professional 
broadcasters : that in matters of form and content the more 
intelligent a broadcast is the fewer are its listeners. This 
anthology is no place to point out the basic fallacy in this 
reasoning, but the theory was sufficiently strong as re- 
cently as three years ago to allow such a solid and sensible 
idea as Information Please to go begging for over fifteen 
months. 

In defense of all those broadcasters who reviewed and 
rejected the idea, it must be pointed out that the submitted 
treatments were much weaker than the shows that the 
radio audience has heard. Not only was this true but the 
original plan, although stating the necessity for a battery 
of experts, did not at first name the experts now performing. 
This fact is important in retrospect because after a year of 
continuous production there are few thoughtful people who 
would dispute the fact that the amazing success of this 
series depends largely upon the great versatility of the 
quartet that does so much of the work. Nowhere in radio is 
there a smoother, more complementary unit. 

Credit for this broadcast belongs to Mr. Dan Golenpaul, 
originator of the idea and producer of the present series. 
The selection of Clifton Fadiman as master of ceremonies 
immediately brought forth one of the most engaging and 
resourceful personalities in radio today ; the trio of experts, 
Mr. Adams, Mr. Kieran, and Mr. Levant, among them 
seem to have read everything ever written and to have 
remembered it well enough to quote it upon request. 

F. P. A., whose “Conning Tower” has been the delivery 
room for many a bouncing masterpiece, is as conversant 
with the records of contemporary writers and entertainers 
as any other man in the country ; Oscar Levant is musically 

dp 



BEST BROADCASTS OF 1938-39 

all but unstumpable; and John Kieran, sports columnist of 
The New York Times, has become known the nation over 
as a walking and talking encyclopedia, seeming to possess 
what psychologists conveniently term “complete recall.” 
All are witty, F. P. A. particularly so, and all are happily 
and hereditarily furnished with fine senses of humor. 

The pivotal difference of the show from other quiz pro- 
grams is in its open invitation to trip up authority. The 
sparring and the readiness, the incalculable and surprising 
knowledge of the participants continuously hold the 
audience through the light treatment of heavy subjects, 
the delightful badinage, and the occasional but inevitable 
collapses. 

Usually Information Please does not present all its ex- 
perts on the same program but seeks to vary the show by 
the inclusion of a guest or two, men and women recognized 
as outstanding in the professions with which their names are 
identified. A sample cross section heard in the past few 
months would find such names as Helen Wills, Rex Stout, 
William Lyon Phelps, Lillian Gish, Kathleen Norris, Deems 
Taylor, Bela Spewack, John Gunther, Grade Allen, H. V. 
Kaltenborn, and many others equally scattered in their 
interests and occupations. The reprinted transcript is a 
show of this type. It has been selected not only because 
it is superior of its sort and representative of the series as a 
whole but because no show that included the musical con- 
tributions of Oscar Levant could be effectively reproduced 
in print. Mr. Levant yielded his place in this instance to 
Bernard Jaffe and Clarence Buddington Kelland. The 
broadcast was heard over NBC’s Blue Network on April 

14. 1939- 



70 



Information Please* 



JULOJLOJUlAiliLaJUULiUUUUUULaj>-8JLaj^^ 

Cross. — Information Please! Presented each week at this time 
by Canada Dry, famous the world over for its fine beverages. 
{Cock crow) Wake up, America! Time to stump the experts 
and enjoy a glass of refreshing Canada Dry Ginger Ale. 
Every week at this hour Canada Dry presents Information 
Please ... 30 minutes of quizzing, with John Public 
supplying the questions and our panel of experts supplying 
the answers plus whatever else they feel like saying. Send 
us stickers. We set up a four-man board to answer them. 
You may submit from one to three original questions. For 
every question our quartet fails to answer the sender gets 
$10, with the compliments of Canada Dry. For every ques- 
tion we use, whether or not it is answered correctly, the 
sender gets $5. So you can make $15 if our experts miss out, 
which, hiunan nature being what it is, they occasionally do. 
Our editorial staff may reword your question a trifle. Don’t 
fret over it. Wherever there is a duplication of questions 
Information Please uses the one that was submitted first. 
All questions become the property of Information Please 
and should be addressed to Canada Dry, i Pershing Square, 
New York City. 

And now may I present our master of ceremonies, Mr. Clifton 
Fadiman, literary critic of the New Yorker magazine? 
Mr. Fadiman. 

Mr. Clifton Fadiman. — Good evening, ladies and gentlemen. 
Information Please is an ad lib program. We have fun doing 
it that way, and we hope you do, too. The rules are very 
simple, though the questions often aren’t. The experts raise 
their hands if they know the answer or feel like guessing, and 
if they miss Canada Dry cheerfully pays out $10 to the 
sender plus $5 for the use of the question itself. Tonight 
our board consists of our reliable brace of veterans, Franklin 

* The transcript of this broadcast. Information Please, is here reprinted 
by special permission of the J. M. Mathes Agency, Inc, and Canada Dry 
Ginger Ale, sponsors of Information Please. 



71 



BEST BROADCASTS OF 1938-39 

P. Adams, creator of the famous humorous column, “The 
Conning Tower,” which appears regularly in the New York 
Post, and the practically unstumpable John Kieran, sports 
expert, practical authority, bird fancier, and what have you. 
Our guests of honor this evening are Bernard Jaffe, author of 
Crucibles, Outposts of Science, and other works humanizing 
scientific knowledge, and the ever-popular Clarence Bud- 
dington Kelland, whose stories and novels have delighted 
millions. 

A moment ago I referred to Mr. Kieran as a bird fancier, 
which leads me to believe that I had better settle the famous 
woodpecker controversy which has been agitating the 
nation ... or should I say tearing up the dovecote . . . 
all dming the last week. We had a question last week in 
which we asked the board to tell us something about the 
life expectancy of the woodpecker, the lion, the swan, and 
the tortoise and to arrange them in the proper order. 
Mr. Kieran said the woodpecker had the smallest Hfe expec- 
tancy, then the lion, the swan, and then the tortoise. I 
questioned the information and promised to tell you this 
evening which was correct. According to The World Almanac, 
last paragraph, page 468 . . . don’t bother to turn to it 
now ... we were right in our listing. On the other hand, 
according to the National Association of the Audubon 
Society, woodpeckers may range from 10 years to 25 in their 
life expectancy, according to their size and probably accord- 
ing to the kind of life they’ve lived. I think we ought to 
accept the Audubon Society as our authority this evening, 
and therefore I am going to adjudicate the question in Mr. 
Kieran’s favor. Or rather, if I may, in the favor of Informa- 
tion Please. So K.O. Kieran wins over World Almanac, thus 
bringing great credit to this remarkable program. I cotild go 
on ... I have three or four cards of information . . . and 
further confuse you about the life expectancy of the wood- 
pecker, the lion, the swan, and the tortoise, but that’s enough 
for this evening. How do you feel, Mr. Kieran ? 

Mr. John Kieran. — I feel a little better. {Laughter) 

Fadiman. — Very good. Very handsome of you. All right, let’s 
see what you can do with this one. The first question has 
nothing to do with woodpeckers. It comes from Miss Eliza- 
beth C. Bailey of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and, gentle- 
men, you’ve got to reach pretty far back to answer this 



72 



INFORMATION PLEASE 



one. I’m going to ask you to identify the following ads of 
yesteryear. When was yesteryear, Mr. Adams? I’ve always 
wanted to know just about when it was. 

Mr. Franklin Adams. — Two years ago. 

Fadiman. — Information Please never fails. Now there is an ad, a 
slogan, which went: “See that hump?’’ Mr. Kelland? 

Mr. Clarence Buddington Kelland. — Delong’s hooks and 
eyes. 

Fadiman. — How did you happen to know that, Mr. Kelland? 

Kelland. — Just hanging around with the girls. 

Fadiman. — Now suppose you saw the ad in those days, when you 
were a small boy, Mr. Kelland . . . and a very cute little boy 
you must have been, Mr. Kelland, if I may say so . . . 
“ Good morning, have you used ... ’’? 

Kelland. — Pear Soap. 

Fadiman. — Mr. Kelland says Pear Soap, and that’s quite correct. 
Don’t forget to raise your hand. I know you’re eager, 
Mr. Kelland, I know you’re eager. 

Kelland. — You picked me with your eyes. 

Adams. — He cannot choose but hear. 

Fadiman. — “Ask Dad. He knows.’’ Mr. Jaffe. 

Mr. Sam Jaffe. — I think I remember that one. That was Sweet 
Caporal cigarettes. 

Fadiman. — But you couldn’t have been a small boy. 

Jaffe. — No, I was in my baby carriage, I think. 

Fadiman. — Long before that, Mr. Jaffe. You were hardly a threat 
in those days. “Have you a little fairy in your home?’’ 
Mr. Adams. 

Adams. — Fairy Soap. 

Fadiman. — Fairy Soap. Four out of four. Very good indeed. 
The next question from Mr. John A. Schaff of Little Ferry, 
New Jersey, is based on familiar lines of poetry. They always 
seem very popular, that sort of question. John asks you to 
answer these queries: Who stood in Venice on the Bridge of 



73 



BEST BROADCASTS OF 1938-39 



Sighs? It’s a famous line of poetry, of course. “I stood in 
Venice on the Bridge of Sighs.” But who was it? I’ll go on 
with the line. “A palace and a prison on each hand.” 
Mr. Adams, want to guess at that ? 

Adams. — ’Tain’t famous to me. ‘‘The Prisoner of Chillon.” 

Fadiman. — You got the right author but the wrong character. It 
was ‘‘Childe Harold” in Byron’s famous poem, ‘‘Childe 
Harold’s Pilgrimage.” That was pretty near, Mr. Adams, 
but not near enough for us. Our standards are high, aren’t 
they, Mr. Adams ? That’s one wrong. 

Adams. — I thought you said high. 

Fadiman. — What stood on the floor because it was too large for 
the shelf ? Mr. Kelland ? 

Kelland. — Grandfather’s clock. 

Fadiman. — That’s right. ‘‘Was too large for the shelf, so it stood 
ninety years on the floor.” Who wrote it, Mr. Kelland? Do 
you know ? 

Kelland. — I wouldn’t know. 

Fadiman. — Do you know, Mr. Adams ? I looked it up. I may as 
well tell you. I And it was written by a man named Henry 
Clay Work, who also wrote one of Mr. Adams’ favorite 
songs. . . . 

Adams. — ‘‘Marching through Georgia.” 

Fadiman. — And another one, Mr. Adams? 

Adams. — ‘‘Kingdom Cornin’.” 

Fadiman. — And another one ? . . . ‘‘Father, Dear Father, Come 
Home with Me Now.” He wrote all those famous poems. 
What stood on the shores of Gitchegoomie ? 

Kelland. — Something out of “Hiawatha,” but darned if I 
know what it is. 

Fadiman. — That’s right, Mr. Kelland. That’s quite right. You’re 
doing very well. If you push it close as that, go ahead, 
Mr. Kelland; you’ve almost got it. I can almost read it in 
your eye. 

Kelland. — Canoe. 

74 



k 



INFORMATION PLEASE 



Kieran. — No, it was somebody’s lodge. 

Fadiman. — That’s right. Who ? 

Kieran. — The gal. Whatever her name was. Hiawatha’s lady 
friend. Minne-ha-ha. 

Fadiman. — You gave us both her names. That’s not quite correct, 
I think. It was the wigwam of Nokomis, who was the grand- 
father of Hiawatha. That’s pretty good, though, Mr. Kieran. 

Kieran. — Grandfather ? I thought it was an old lady. 

Fadiman. — I think Nokomis was the grandfather. 

Kieran. — ^Let’s not quibble. I think you’re thinking of his father. 
That was Papakewis. 

Fadiman. — Father, dear father, nokomis with me now, you mean. 
{Laughter) We got about half on that. What stood four to six ? 
It’s a cinch. As a matter of fact, it’s in Mr. Kieran’s depart- 
ment, more or less. Mr. Adams, all right. 

Adams. — Casey’s team. 

Fadiman. — The team itself couldn’t stand four to six. 

Adams. — The score. With one inning left to play. 

Fadiman. — That’s right. Extremely rocky for the Mudville Nine. 
“That day the score stood four to six. 

With but an inning left to play.” 

Well, I think we’ll have to call that wrong. We got about 
two and a half out of four. That means Mr. Schaff gets 
$io plus $5 for the use of the question, courtesy of Canada 
Dry. The next one comes from Mr. W. G. McKenzie of 
Marion Station, Pennsylvania. It involves your knowledge 
of history. Who were the chief obstructionists to the aims 
and ambitions of the following? Let’s get three out of four 
on this. Marc Antony? The one who finally destroyed 
Marc Antony’s plan and ambition. Mr. Kelland ? 

Ke eland . — Octavius . 

\ Fadiman. — That’s quite right. Octavian, the nephew of Julius 
Caesar, wasn’t he ? And at what battle was it that he won his 

j great victory ? 

I 

I Kelland. — Actium? 

i 75 



1 



BEST BROADCASTS OF 1938-39 



Fadiman. — Actium is quite right, Mr. Kelland. Don’t be reticent. 
You see, you know these things. You’ll gain in self-confi- 
dence. Who was Boss Tweed’s most famous antagonist? 
Mr. Kieran. 

Kieran. — A cartoonist named Nast was his most effective 
antagonist. 

Fadiman. — That’s quite right. Thomas Nast, famous cartoonist. 
Napoleon the Third . . . his antagonist and the destroyer 
of his plans ? Mr. Kieran. 

Kieran. — Bismarck. 

Fadiman. — Bismarck. And Helen Jacobs? Mr. Jaffe? 

Jaffe. — Miss Wills. 

Fadiman. — That’s quite right. Helen Wills Moody. Very good. 
You know a lot of other things besides chemistry, don’t you, 
Mr. Jaffe? 

J AFFE . — Sometimes . 

Fadiman. — All right. See what you can do with this one. That’s 
four out of four. The next question, from Mr. F. C. Prensky 
of Brooklyn, New York, has to do with your knowledge of 
. . . well, I should say home science, more or less. What 
article in common use is suggested by the following material ? 
If you put together mercury in a thin glass tube Math a 
constriction in it, you get, Mr. Jaffe, what? 

Jaffe. — A thermometer. 

Fadiman. — On the other hand, if you take a silver double glass 
wall and a vacuum and put those together, what do you 
get out of the merger ? 

Jaffe. — A Thermos bottle. 

Fadiman. — A Thermos bottle. The thing that you use to keep 
liquids lukewarm in the summer at picnics. (Laughter) 
And suppose you have a sheet of celluloid, some gelatine, 
and silver bromide. Put those together and what do you get ? 

Jaffe. — Photographic film. 

Fadiman. — Yes. Put them together, and you get the candid 
camera. Now sulphur dioxide and a compression pump put 
together. Any other volunteers beside Mr. Jaffe on this? 
Mr. Jaffe. 

76 



INFORMATION PLEASE 



Jaffe. — Household electric refrigerator. 

Fadiman. — Yes. An ice cube manufacturer. Very good. Four out 
of four, Mr. Jaffe. Are your students listening in, Mr. Jaffe ? 

Jaffe. — I hope so. 

Fadiman. — You mean you hope so so far. 

Jaffe. — I’ll assign this for homework. 

Fadiman. — I hope you don’t make any bltmders on the next few 
questions, Mr. Jaffe. Keep tuned in, all students of Bernard 
Jaffe, keep tuned in. The next question, from Charlie White 
of Seattle, Washington. Mr. White just wants you to describe 
three famous boners in sports. Any sports. Mr. ICieran, 
start us off ? 

Kieran. — Merkle made one of the most famous boners in sports 
in a game of the New York Giants. He was on base in 1909, 
playing the Chicago Cubs, and with the supposed winning 
hit made, he being on first, he ran to the clubhouse instead 
of touching second base, and the ball was recovered at 
second base ... so they say! . . . and the game ended 
in a tie instead of the Giants winning. It had to be played off, 
and the Giants lost the play-off game and the pennant. 

Fadiman. — Would you call that perhaps the most famous boner 
in baseball ? 

Adams. — It was the most famous boner of 1908. 

Kieran. — Eight . . . right. 

Fadiman. — Did you have another boner on your mind, Mr. 
Adams ? I know you had your hand up. 

Adams. — Mr. Kieran just made one. {Laughter) 

Fadiman. — We’ll add that to the list. All right, Mr. Kieran, 
another boner ? 

Kieran. — ^Long John Anderson of the Yankees stole second base 
with the bases filled on the Old Hilltop ground. 

Fadiman. — You know, Mr. Kieran, you spund almost as if you 
were reading that. How do you know these things? That’s 
two boners. Let’s have another. Mr. Kelland ? 

Kelland. — Riegels ran the wrong way with the ball in the Rose 
Bowl game. 



77 



BEST BROADCASTS OF 1938-39 

Fadiman. — That’s right. Between what teams? 

Kelland. — California and somebody else. 

Fadiman. — Georgia Tech, I think it was. Did you see that boner 
made, Mr. Kelland? 

Kelland. — No, I read about it. 

Fadiman. — I’ve never believed in it, and here it is down on the 
card. That’s quite right. Three boners out of three. Very 
good. Now let’s see. So far the boys in the counting house 
have counted out only $10 to send to these sagacious ques- 
tioners who have stiunped our experts. We’re doing pretty 
well, Mr. Adams, aren’t we, don’t you think? And now 
Canada Dry’s own expert, Mr. Milton Cross, takes his trick 
at the microphone. 

Cross. — Thank you, Mr. Fadiman. Many people enjoy every 
day drinking a long, tall glass filled with sparkling ginger 
ale, for it’s a most refreshing and delicious beverage. Pure 
and healthful, too, as proved by the fact that one of the 
first liquids prescribed for convalescents is ginger ale. So 
if you haven’t tried it recently may we suggest you do. 
During the day, when you’re busy and tired and want a 
pickup, while you’re motoring, when it is hot and dusty, 
when your children come home from school and want some 
refreshment, any time, in fact, you’ll find a glass of ginger 
ale is a tasty, tangy, and enjoyable drink. And when you ask 
for ginger ale order Canada Dry, for it’s made with the most 
fastidious care, using only the finest ingredients, the purest 
water, and bottled under rigid sanitary conditions. Yes, 
ginger ale is a refreshing beverage, and Canada Dry is known 
as the champagne of ginger ale. 

Fadiman. — Very good. That message from Canada Dry was 
delivered by Mr. Cross. ... I clocked it at 52 seconds. 
Now suppose we get to the second half of the program, with a 
question coming from Mr. Paul Grant of Cedar Rapids, 
Iowa. What did each of the following lose: Lucy Locket? 
Mr. Kelland? 

Kelland. — Her pocket. 

Fadiman. — Lucy Locket lost her pocket. Very good, Mr. Kelland. 
Who foimd it ? 

Kelland. — Katie Fisher. 



INFORMATION PLEASE 



Fadiman. — Yes. That’s extra. Here’s one that’s harder. Belinda? 
Mr. Kieran? 

Kieran. — She lost a lock of hair. 

Fadiman. — Yes. What’s the reference? 

Kieran. — “The Rape of the Lock’’ by Pope. 

Fadiman. — Very good. What century ? 

Kieran. — Oh, shucks. Are you trying to pin me down ? 

Fadiman. — Let’s have the first two lines of “The Rape of the 
Lock,’’ Mr. Kieran. Any chance of getting that out of you? 

Kieran. — I can’t recall it, no. 

Fadiman. — “What dire offense from amorous causes springs? 

What mighty contests rise from trivial things?” 
How true. Very good. Peter Schlemiel. Mr. Kieran again. 

Kieran. — His shadow. 

Fadiman. — What is the literary reference ? 

Kieran. — It’s a child’s story, but I’m afraid I’ve sort of slowed 
down now. I don’t remember who wrote it. 

Fadiman. — Most people would fall down on that. Not a very 
well-known writer. Adelbert von Chamisso, I think it was. 
A very hard name to pronovmce. That’s why it has not 
become very popular, perhaps. What did the organist lose? 
Mr. Adams. 

Adams. — A chord. 

Fadiman. — Yes. What is the reference? 

Adams. — Sullivan’s “The Lost Chord.” 

Fadiman. — “Seated one day at the organ.” Four out of four on 
losses. Very good. The next one, from Mr. G. Simpson of 
Detroit, Michigan. Gentlemen, you of course know the 
difference between a gourmand and a gourmet. Mr. Kelland, 
do you know the difference ? 

Kelland. — I fancy. 

Fadiman. — Very well, if you are goirrmets you should be able 
to tell me what the following phrases used in cookery mean : 
“aw gratin.” Mr. Kieran. 



79 



BEST BROADCASTS OF 1938-39 



Kieran. — With cheese. 

Fadiman. — With cheese, or, more generally, with a brown crust 
of bread crtunbs often made with butter or cheese. But 
*'au gratin’’ and cheese are connected, there’s no doubt. If 
you saw the word “ Parmentiere ” after a dish, what would 
it mean to you ? Mr. Kieran, apparently you eat out a good 
deal. 

Kieran. — Parmentiere was, of course, a Frenchman. Yes, he’s 
the man who introduced potatoes into France. 

Fadiman. — That’s quite right. If you saw “Parmentiere” after 
the name of a dish . . . 

Kieran. — There would be potatoes with it. 

Fadiman. — Yes. Made with potatoes. In Gaelic, known simply 
as spuds. 

Kieran. — From the French for pomme de terre. 

Fadiman. — Don’t any of you other gentlemen eat ? 

Adams. — You’re getting me awful hungry right now. 

Fadiman. — ^Let’s get on to another question for you, Mr. Adams. 
Suppose you saw the word “jardiniere” after the name of a 
dish on a menu. Mr. Kelland. 

Kelland. — It means it’s cooked in the flower pot. 

Fadiman. — No, I’m sorry. That wouldn’t be right in terms of 
cookery, though possibly in terms of pottery. “Jardiniere” 
really means, I guess . . . Mr. Adams ? 

Adams. — With a lot of garden vegetables. 

Fadiman. — Now you might have guessed that from the word 
“jardiniere.” Jardin . . . French for garden. A kind of 
vegetable dish. A mixture of vegetables served in soup or 
with beef. Thank you, Mr. Adams. 

Adams. — Fifty-flve cents. 

Fadiman. — No blue plate ? 

Adams. — On the blue plate. 

Fadiman. — Ever succeed, by the way, Mr. Adams ... I know 
you had a campaign once going to have waiters give you the 

80 



INFORMATION PLEASE 



coffee after the meal. Any luck on that ? How did you make 
out ? Didn’t you run a campaign once to have waiters give 
you the coffee after the meal instead of with ? 

Adams. — No, I wanted it with or not at all. It’s useless. They 
won’t do it. 

Fadiman. — How about, Mr. Adams, a menu on your favorite 
blue plate special in which you saw the word I'anglaise”? 
Mr. Kieran. 

Kieran. — It means English style. 

Fadiman. — Which means what ? 

Kelland. — Tastes like mutton. 

Fadiman. — Thank you, Mr. Kelland. But more generally what 
would it mean, in the English style? You’re all right. Mr. 
Kieran said roasted or broiled. In the simplest or plainest 
manner would be d Vanglaise. I think we got three out of four 
on that. Mr. L. Lytell of Brooklyn, New York, wants you to 
answer the following: What scientific discoveries do the 
following bring to mind: A broth of germs? Mr. Jafife, have 
you your hand raised ? 

Jaffe. — Yes. I would say Pasteur. 

Fadiman. — Well, what did he do ? 

Jaffe. — Well, he was trying to find a connection between disease 
and microorganisms. . . . Wait a minute, it might refer to 
Spallanzani’s attempt to . . . 

Fadiman. — I wish you had stuck to Pasteur. 

Jaffe. — Well, I’ll go back to Pasteur. He was trying to show that 
microorganisms would be killed when heated in a fluid. 

Fadiman. — Would be killed when heated in a fluid. . . . 

Jaffe. — In other words, they couldn’t resist high temperature. 

Fadiman. — Well, I think you’re all right on Pasteur; and you’re 
all right on germs or microorganisms, but I don’t think 
you’re quite precise in telling us what he attempts to prove. 
He was attempting to disprove the theory of spontaneous 
generation. 



8i 



BEST BROADCASTS OF 1938-39 

Japfe. — T hat’s why I mentioned Spallanzani, who did that really 
first. 

Fadiman. — A h, that’s clever of you, Mr. Jaffe. Very clever. Think 
I ought to let him get away with it, Mr. Adams ? 

Adams. — I would, on account of the kids. {Laughter) 

Fadiman. — A ll right. . . . Well, what Pasteur did was to cover 
one flask of broth and allow the other to be exposed to the 
air; and in the one that was exposed to the air, the germs 
developed, and not in the other. A case of too many germs 
spoiling the broth ... as you were going to say, Mr. Jaffe, 
without the slightest doubt. . . . Now, suppose I give you 
the term “six teams of horses’’ . . . Would that mean 
anything in the history of science ? . . . Mr. Jaffe. 

Jaffe. — T hat was an incident where air was taken out of a large 
metal ball, and three teams of horses on each side tried to 
pull them apart. 

Fadiman. — Y eah . . . what did it prove ? 

Jaffe. — I t proved that the air exerted a certain amount of 
pressure. 

Fadiman. — Y es . . a great deal. Once you created a vacuum 
between those two iron halves of . . . 

Jaffe. — H emispheres. . . . 

Fadiman. — C ould you give me the name of the man who’s 
responsible for this experiment ? 

Jaffe. — U h . . . 

Fadiman. — Y ou don’t have to. Otto von Gerricha. By the way, 
do you know where you will find that experiment very 
beautifully recounted, Mr. Jaffe ? 

Jaffe. — I n the Museum of Science and Industry. 

Fadiman. — Y es. And also in a book called Crucibles by Bernard 
Jaffe. You’ve forgotten it. {Laughter) Described the experi- 
ment at great length. Two out of two, so far. . . . Now, 
“hysterics and anesthetics’’; “hysterics and anesthetics’’ 
. . . what would that bring to mind ? If I just use those two 
words? . . . Mr. Kieran. 

82 



INFORMATION PLEASE 



Kieran. — T hat would bring laughing gas to mind . . . used as 
an anesthetic. 

Fadiman. — T hat’s right. What’s the efEect of laughing gas . . . 
that is, the first time it was used ? 

Kieran. — T he first time it was used ? 

Fadiman. — Y eah. 

Kieran. — I think it was inhaled by the inventor rather acci- 
dentally, and he began to laugh. . . . 

Fadiman. — Y es, I think the experiment is connected mainly 
with Sir Humphry Davy. . . . Yes, that’s exactly . . . 
exactly right. 

Adams. — W ith nitrous oxide . . . eh ? 

Fadiman. — “ Eh ” is right. Nitrous oxide, Mr. Adams. . . . Now, 
the fourth and last is “sparkling water.” That’s a setup for 
a plug for our product. 

Adams. — C anada Dry. 

Fadiman. — Y es, I know, Mr. Adams. Do you think I’d take 
advantage of a setup Hke that? Of course we would. . . . 
Now, Mr. Jafie. 

Jaffe. — W ell, are you referring to the discovery of seltzer 
water by Priestley ? 

Fadiman. — Y eah . . . yeah. 

Jaffe. — T hat was back in the latter part of the eighteenth 
century. 

Kieran. — Y eah, a lot of funny things were happening then. 

Fadiman. — A nd Priestley did what ? 

Jaffe. — H e bubbled carbon dioxide gas through water. 

Fadiman. — A nd found out what happened ? 

Jaffe. — T hat it had a very pleasant taste . . . like Canada Dry, 
I suppose. 

Fadiman. — T hank you very much, Mr. Jaffe, thank you very 
much. That’s four out of four. Think we were pretty good on 
that. . . . The next question: from Ruth Malloy of Phila- 

^5 



BEST BROADCASTS OF 1938-39 



delphia, Pennsylvania. Please identify the following quota- 
tions, all beginning with the two words “Call me.” The first 
one is, “Call me Ishmael.” . . . “Call me Ishmael.” 
Mr. Kieran. 

Kieran. — T hat’s the opening phrase of Mohy Dick by Hermann 
Melville. 

Fadiman. — Y es. And I should say one of the greatest opening 
phrases of any book that’s ever been written. 

Kieran. — A nd the phrases that follow are equally good. . . . 

Fadiman. — E qually good. Thank you very much, Mr. Kieran. 
And, Mr. Melville . . . unhappily deceased . . . thanks 
to you, too. , . . “Call me what instrument you will.” 
“Call me what instrument you will.” . . . That’s the 
toughest of the four. 

Adams. — I t’s a line that Hamlet uses addressing Guildenstem. 
“ Call me what instrument you will ; Though you can fuss me ; 
you cannot play upon me.” You know. . . . 

Fadiman. — Y es, Mr. Adams, of course we do. . . . “Call me 
pet names, dearest.” It is not from Shakespeare, Mr. Adams. 
“Call me pet names, dearest.” . . . Yes, Mr. Adams. 

Adams. — I t’s a song. 

Fadiman. — Y es, very good. Do you know how it goes on? “Call 
me pet names, dearest.” 

Adams. — “C all me . . . 

Fadiman. — T hat’s right, that’s right. . . . 

Adams. — . . . a . . . and then the pet name is there, but . . . 

Fadiman. — A bird, a bird, Mr. Adams. “ Call me a bird that flies 
to thy breast at one cherishing word.” Very good. . . . 
“Ye call me Chief.” . . . Mr. Adams. 

Adams. — S partacus to the Gladiators. 

Fadiman. — V ery good. Do you care to recite it, Mr. Adams? 

Adams. — I’ d love to. {Laughter) 

Fadiman. — G o ahead. 

84 



INFORMATION PLEASE 



Adams. — “A nd you do well to call me Chief, 

Who for four long years in the arena,” et cetera. 
{Laughter) 

Fadiman. — T hat’s perfect. It’s 12 long years, but that’s all right. 

Adams. — W ritten by the Reverend Elijah Kellogg. 

Fadiman. — T hat’s quite right. How did you know that, Mr. 
Adams ? 

Adams. — B ecause he lived in Casco Bay. (Laughter) 

Fadiman. — T hat seems perfectly clear to me. Uh . . . we’re 
supposed to get four out of four on that; so we lose $10 to 
Miss Malloy of Philadelphia, plus $5 for the use of the 
question. 

Sound. — Cash register. 

Fadiman. — T hank you. . . . Now, the next question comes from 
Leroy Singer of this city. The following were slang terms 
during the last World War. Can you explain what each 
one means? The first ... “a shavetail.” That’s pretty 
easy . . . Mr. Jaffe. 

Jaffe. — A second louie. 

Fadiman. — A second louie. You say that with a little bitterness 
in your voice. 

Jaffe. — I never did like it. 

Fadiman. — N ever did like it, uh? “Goldfish.” . . . “Gold- 
fish.” ... Mr. Kelland. 

Kelland. — C anned rations. 

Fadiman. — C anned what ? 

Kelland. — R ations. 

Fadiman. — Y es, but what particularly? 

Ke ll and . — Salmon . 

Fadiman. — Y es, salmon. Canned salmon. . . . “Peewee” “Pee- 
wee.” . . . Mr. Kieran. 

Kieran. — “P eewee” was an aviation cadet before he got off 
the ground. 



<^5 



BEST BROADCASTS OF 1938-39 

Fadiman. — Y es. What’s the word mean? 

Kieran. — A flightless bird. 

Fadiman. — T he life expectancy, Mr. Adams and Mr. Kieran? 

Adams. — S ixty-fovir and three-quarter years. . . . 

Fadiman. — I’ m sure that’s correct. (Laughter) 

Fadiman. — A nd “Reading your shirt’’ would mean what? . . . 
Mr. Kieran again. 

Kieran. — L ooking for quaint little visitors. (Laughter) 

Fadiman. — H ow did they do it exactly ? 

Kieran. — T ook off their shirt and went through and picked them 
out and stepped on them. 

Jaffe. — W ell, sometimes . . . 

Fadiman. — D o you have a different method, Mr. Jaffe ? 

Jaffe. — W ell, it was usually done at night, by candlelight. 
Kieran. — Y es, singeing. . . . 

Adams. — A pretty trick. 

Fadiman. — N ow we have time for only one more ... or part 
of one more. The next from Mr. A. Singer of New Orleans, 
Louisiana. Quote a famous question asked of an old man. 
Question asked of an old man. . . . Mr. Adams. 

Adams. — “ D o you think at your age it is right?’’ 

Fadiman. — V ery good. 

Adams. — I t was from “Father William’’ by . . . 

Fadiman. — A ll right. A question asked of a baby? Of a baby? 
. . . Mr. Adams. 

Adams. — “W here did you come from, baby dear?” 

Fadiman. — Y es. How does it go on ? 

Adams. — “O ut of the nowhere into the here.” 

Fadiman. — O ut of the Everywhere, I think. 

Adams. — E verywhere. All right. 

86 



INFORMATION PLEASE 



Fadiman. — And I’m afraid that will be all we’ll have time for 
tonight. That brings Canada Dry’s losses up to $20. Now 
Mr. Cross has a word for you; then I’ll tell you about our 
guests for next week. 

Cross. — When a man has done a job well, words of praise always 
ring happily on his ears. I am sure this is true of even the 
most modest author who appears on Information Please. 
And it is equally true in industries as in the arts. The 
creators of Canada Dry water quite frankly relish the praise 
that is constantly given their sparkling products. For ever 
since this delicious soda became available, people all over 
the country have been praising it most heartily. There is 
every reason for the popularity of sparkling Canada Dry 
water. It blends well, makes your favorite drink taste 
better, come to life, and stay lively for a good time. For 
actually, laboratory tests have proved that after a bottle 
has been opened this water wall stay alive and sparkling 
for at least 24 hours in a refrigerator. So ask for Sparkling 
Canada Dry Water the next time you order club soda, and, 
incidentally, now you can purchase Information Please 
questions and answers in regular book form at your favorite 
book or department store. 

Fadiman. — Thank you. And may I remark, in passing, that the 
Indian Department has just called in to tell us that Nokomis 
is a grandmother and not a grandfather, which wall be a 
surprise to everybody. {Applause) Thank you, Mr. Jaffe and 
Mr. Kelland, for your noble efforts this evening. Next 
week, Mr. Adams, Mr. Levant, Mr. Kieran wall be with 
us again, and our guest of honor wall be one of the ablest 
newspaper men of our day, the well-knowoi author of Mrs. 
Astor’s Horse, The Night Club Era, and City Editor . . . 
Stanley Walker, now editor of the Philadelphia Evening 
Public Ledger. To all you listeners we say, please send your 
questions along, and if you have a stumper to stump our 
board of experts, let’s have it. There is $5 in it for you if 
we use the question and another 10 if we fail to answer 
it correctly. That means $15 in all if you win. Send your 
letters wdth questions to Information Please, i Pershing 
Square, New York City. 



BEST HUMAN INTEREST SHOW 



We the People 

W E THE People is a true cross section of American life. 

More than 900 persons have been brought to New 
York from every state in the union to participate in this 
program. All races and all ages have appeared on “We, the 
People,” from a two-year-old youngster to a one-hundred- 
nineteen-year-old slave, from college presidents to down- 
and-outers. There have been Indian chiefs, an eye witness to 
the Chicago Fire, the first woman ever elected to Congress, 
a man who assisted the great Pasteur in the first inocidation 
against rabies, a man who escaped from Devil’s Island, the 
man who brought us the Statue of Liberty, the soldier who 
carried the Armistice message, Casey Jones’s fireman, the 
original “Ragtime Kid” in the shooting of Dan McGrew, 
the man who let himself be bitten by yellow fever mos- 
quitoes for humanitarian purposes, the man who photo- 
graphed the bombing of the Panay in China. Donald 
Budge, Tom Mooney, Cornelius Vanderbilt, Jr., and Mrs. 
Franklin D. Roosevelt have also been guests of this pro- 
gram. So have several hundred other people equally 
dissimilar. 

It will be seen by any of those who do not happen to know 
this program that its great pubHc appeal lies in the telling 
of the story of the affecting moments in people’s lives, of 
important and obscure people alike. The show was con- 
ceived and originated by Phillips H. Lord and had its first 
performance October 4, 1936. Lord left the show two years 
later (September, 1938) and Gabriel Heatter took command 
as permanent master of ceremonies. Heatter’s great value 
to the series Hes in large part in his ability to put at their 
ease the people he presents, to relieve their nervousness by 
his calm and encouraging manner. He inspires great trust 
and confidence, and imder his handling people who are 

88 



WE THE PEOPLE 



flustered in the extreme when they first enter the studio 
have given very creditable performances on the air. 

As a Phillips Lord production the show caught on from 
the start. After Lord’s departure and with the advent of 
Gabriel Heatter (with the firm of Young and Rubicam 
producing), the material of the show was given a new 
direction. Young and Rubicam went after more newsworthy 
and significant stories and people. The show ‘ ‘ hit ’ ’ harder, 
took on a faster pace and wider interest. Today the audience 
has expanded to a more general and all-comprehensive 
following, including the discriminating listener. 

On many radio shows musical cues are a matter of routine 
only. On We the People, conductor Mark Warnow has the 
problem of finding melodies exactly suited to the various 
situations and attitudes that bring Mr. and Mrs. Average 
American to the air. Several months ago, for example, a 
Mr. A1 Mingolone, newsreel cameraman, went to Maine to 
photograph a balloon-jumping experiment. People in Maine 
were leaping into the air, supported by buoyant clusters 
of gas balloons of small diameter. They were jumping over 
barns and houses and enjoying it very much. Mingolone 
took a few pictures, then had himself tied into a bunch of 
the bags in order to take more pictures from the air. The 
sun came out after his take-off, expanding the gas in the 
balloons that held him aloft. He went on up, unable to 
disentangle himself enough to puncture any of the bags. 
Obviously he couldn’t drop his camera without multiplying 
his confusion. He was blown all over New England. Finally 
a Catholic priest saw him, and, understanding his problem, 
brought him to earth again by piercing three or four bal- 
loons with a rifle. When Mingolone was presented over 
We the People, Mark Warnow thumbed through the 
catalogue of old numbers and came up with a melody that 
was perfectly right: “I’m Flying High but I’ve Got a 
Feeling I’m Falling.” 

Guests of the program, irrespective of the distances they 
have to travel, are well taken care of in New York. Fares 
are paid in advance, hotel reservations are made, and five 
dollars a day for expenses are provided. 



BEST BROADCASTS OF 1938-39 

In my personal opinion the most exciting and dramatic 
of all the presentations of this series was the story of Mr. X, 
a victim of amnesia. A reconstructed sketch of this unfor- 
tunate man’s history was presented on the broadcast of 
January 17, 1939, and the man himself spoke on the show. 
In the broadcast four weeks later We the People brought 
the solution to this disturbing story. The identity of the 
man had been discovered through this program, he had 
been restored to his family, and he had completely recovered 
from the loss of memory that had tortured him for eight 
years. It is regrettable that print cannot record the over- 
tone of courage and gratitude that Mr. Lawrence demon- 
strated when he told his own story on the night of Feb- 
ruary 14, 1939. 



90 



We the People* 



0 Q , Q , mt , o .,Q .o ooQQOQQOQOQitttaaoaoflgo oQOogflttgflflflagaoggflfl 

FROM THE BROADCAST OF JANUARY 1 7 

Heatter. — O n the afternoon of June 25, 1931 . . . to a hospital 
in Jackson, Mississippi . . . police brought a well-dressed 
man who had collapsed on a city street. For weeks he lay 
in a coma . . . hovering between life and death. Then one 
morning the patient regained consciousness, and Dr. Hunt 
of the hospital staff stood at his bedside . . . happy to 
see his patient coming back to life. . . . 

Doctor. — {Cheerful) Well . . . you’re feeling better this morn- 
ing, aren’t you! 

Man. — {Weakly) Yes . . . doctor. 

Doctor. — T hat’s fine. . . , Well, now, the first thing I’d like 
to know is your name. You see, there was no identification 
in your clothes. We’d like to get in touch with your relatives. 
Let them know you’re all right. 

Man. — M y name? Why, yes . . . it’s . . . er . . . {disturbed) 

Why . . . I . . . I . . . 

Doctor. — W hat is it ? Is there something wrong ? 

Man. — {Struggling) Doctor . . . that’s funny. ... I ... I 
can’t seem to remember. But ... I know where I live. 
My address is , . . it’s . . . 

Doctor. — Y es? 

Man . — {It hits him) Doctor ... I can’t remember that either. 

Doctor. — {Concerned) There, there, now take it easy. You’re 
. . . you’re sure you can’t remember ? 

Man. — {Terrified) No . . . doctor. I can’t remember. But I 
must know my name! My name is . . . it’s . . . it’s . . . 
No doctor, I can’t remember! I can’t remember anything! 

* Reprinted by special permission of Young and Rubicam, authorized 

agents for We the People, and sole copyright owners. 



BEST BROADCASTS OF 1938-39 

Heatter. — For days the doctors in that hospital worked to help 
that man recall something about his former life. He couldn’t 
remember a thing. Somewhere . . . somehow the link 
that bound him to the past had snapped. The days became 
weeks, and the weeks became years. Every agency, every 
possible source of information was exhausted . . . without 
discovering a single clue. The man became known as Mr. 
X. And tonight that man is here beside me. And being here 
means so much to him ... his heart is so full of emotion 
... it may be difficult for him to speak to you. For he comes 
here with a heart-breaking appeal for help. WE THE 
PEOPLE presents the man known as Mr. X. 

Mr. X. — Today, I live at the Mississippi State Hospital in 
Jackson. Doctors there say I am about seventy years old. 
Physically I have changed little since I was fotmd in 1931. 
I am almost bald, and what hair I have is gray. But my 
eyebrows are very heavy and black. My eyes are brown, 
and I wear glasses. I am 5 feet 7 inches tall and weigh 
145 pounds. My doctor believes I was well educated. From 
the very first day, I have chosen books from the hospital 
library that would only be interesting to a well-read man. 
And I have read every newspaper and magazine I could, 
hoping to find some clue to my past. It is also evident that 
the care of flowers was either my profession or a hobby, 
because I can identify unusual plants by their botanical 
names. And I know a lot about making them grow. Also, 
I remember the rules of complicated card games Hke bridge, 
and I am sure I was once familiar with financial statements. 
Gradually I have recalled several places where I have been 
. . . but I do not know when or with whom. I remember 
best Pensacola, Florida. I remember a man there who took 
me to the Osceola Club. He used to have a special brand 
of cigars, and I used to joke with him about it. My doctors 
have checked my description of Pensacola and have decided 
I was there about 30 years ago. I remember distinctly playing 
cards with some friends ... a druggist and his wife . . . 
but I cannot recall their names. 

The doctors at the Mississippi State Hospital have done 
ever5Tthing in their power to help me discover who I am. . . . 
Now, after 8 years, it seems impossible, hopeless. I •wdll be 
forever grateful to WE THE PEOPLE for giving me this 
last chance. I am an old man. There are only a few years 
left for me on this earth. Somehow ... I must find out 



92 



WE THE PEOPLE 



who I am, where I came from, whether I have loved ones 
who have given me up for dead. I can only pray with all 
my heart that someone listening in tonight will recognize 
something I have said about myself ... or my voice. 

I do not want to die nameless and alone. . . . 

Heatter. — Ladies and gentlemen ... if you have any clue to 
the identity of Mr. X ... no matter how insignificant it 
may seem ... We the People asks that you let us know 
at once . . . please. 

IDENTIFICATION OP MR. X ON BROADCAST OP FEBRUARY 1 4 

Heatter. — Four weeks ago tonight a man seventy years old 
stood before this microphone and made a dramatic appeal 
for help. For that man did not know his own name. Nor 
who he was. For eight heart-breaking, agonizing years he 
had lived in the Mississippi State Hospital. Unless he could 
find out who he was he would die there . . . friendless, 
alone, known only as Mr. X. Then he found help . . . help 
from WE THE PEOPLE. Telegrams, letters, telephone 
calls poured in from every part of America ... a tidal 
wave of htunan sympathy, eager to help. Tonight he is 
no longer Mr. X. Tonight he is William Henry Lawrence of 
Birmingham, Alabama. And he is waiting at this minute 
in a radio studio in Birmingham. He and his sister, Mrs. 
J. P. Haley, who identified him. First . . . Mrs. Haley, 
who will tell you what happened when the family of Will 
Lawrence first realized their brother had joined the world 
of missing men. All right, Birmingham. {Switchover) 

Mrs. Haley. — My brother. Will, was a single man, a traveling 
insurance salesman. He was often away from home for 
months at a time. On May 24, 1931, he left to go on one of 
his trips. During the first few months we got several letters. 
The last one was postmarked Jackson, Mississippi. In it 
Win said he was leaving Jackson. He did not say where he 
was going. 

We did not hear from him again. At first we didn’t worry, 
because Will had always been a poor letter writer. But as 
months passed without a word, our alarm grew. We notified 
police and missing persons bureaus. Every possible agency 
joined in the search. It was useless. Will had apparently 
vanished from the face of the earth. Month after month 



93 



BEST BROADCASTS OF 1938-39 



we prayed, hoped we would hear something, anything 
that would give us a clue. But after a year and a half we 
had to admit what seemed to be the terrible truth. Will was 
dead. Eight years passed. Time helped to soften our grief 
... a little. Then one day last week a neighbor telephoned. 
She said she had heard a Mr. X on this program, WE THE 
PEOPLE. Mr. X had said he was from Jackson, Mississippi, 
where Will was last heard from. The next day my son 
rushed into our house. He had pictures of Mr. X out of 
Time magazine and the Memphis Commercial Appeal. I 
looked at the pictures, and all the hope that had died in 
me years ago came surging back. The face in those pictures 
was not the face I remembered. ... It was a face grown 
sad with grief and despair. But I knew Mr. X was my brother 
Will. My brother, Ben, and I hurried to the hospital in 
Jackson. As long as I live I shall never forget the hopes 
and fear that raced through my heart as we waited in the 
anteroom, praying we weren’t wrong. Finally Dr. Donaldson, 
said, “This is Mr. X.” It was Will. Ben and I rushed to him 
to take him in our arms. We were both crying with happiness. 
But Will just stood there. He did not know us. We showed 
him pictures of the family. We talked of old days. We could 
see him trying desperately to think back. It was useless. Ben 
and I were stiinned. We could not stand the tragic suffering 
written on the face of our brother. Then Dr. Donaldson told 
us there was one last chance. We were a link connecting Will 
to the past. Under the influence of a mild drug, that link 
might be strengthened. We went to Will’s room. Dr. Donald- 
son administered the drug . . . sodium amytol. We sat 
there waiting. Suddenly I saw Will turn his head and look 
at me. Recognition dawned on his face. He knew me. My 
happiness was so deep I could not speak. And as long as I 
live ... I will never forget the look on my brother Ben’s 
face as he clasped the hand of the brother we had loved 
and mourned as dead. My brother. Will, the man you knew 
as Mr. X, is here with me . . . waiting anxiously to speak 
to you. All right. Will. 

Will (Mr. X). — Four weeks ago when I spoke on WE THE 
PEOPLE, I was a lonely unhappy old man. My life stretched 
ahead of me, a long, weary road. And I believed that broad- 
cast was my last chance to And out who I was. Tonight my 
happiness is complete. I am back with my loved ones, and 
what is left of my life I shall spend rich in their love. 



94 



WE THE PEOPLE 



Tonight, from the bottom of my heart, I want to thank 
the thousands of people who tried to help me. I want every 
one of you to know your letters were each and every one 
a thread of hope. I am eternally grateful. 

I remember now that fateful morning of May 24, 1931, 
when I left Birmingham to go to Jackson. I remember 
writing from Jackson, Mississippi. ... I remember writing 
a letter to my nephew and going out of the hotel on an 
errand. I had money in my pocket. But when or how I lost 
my memory I cannot remember. 

The doctors believe I was drugged and robbed. 

But one day stands out in my memory, February 7, 1939, 
when suddenly a dark cloud lifted from my mind, and I saw 
my brother and sister bending over me. Suddenly ... I 
knew who I was. Sixty-two years of my life came rushing 
back to me. The memories of my childhood, my family, 
and my friends. 

It seems strange that I had to travel 1,000 miles to ask 
help . . . when all those years, my family lived less than 
100 miles away. If it were not for WE THE PEOPLE I 
would still be in the Mississippi State Hospital ... a 
nameless, lonely old man ... an old man denied even 
his memories. Instead, the time that is left to me on this 
earth is filled with the promise of happiness. There are no 
words to tell what is my heart . . . but as long as I live 
. . . I will remember in my prayers ... all those who 
helped me in my time of need. 



95 



BEST VARIETY SHOW 



The Kate Smith Hour 

K ate (Kathryn Elizabeth) Smith is unquestionably 
one of the world’s great entertainers. Prior to her radio 
successes, she was starred in such hits as “Honeymoon 
Lane,” “Flying High,” and “Hit the Deck.” Her profes- 
sional debut took place a few years before her first impor- 
tant muscial show when she sang for American soldiers 
encamped near her Washington home. Since then she has 
been a top-flight vocalist and mistress of ceremonies in 
every channel of entertainment in which she has appeared. 

Her great artistry as a popular singer was recognized by 
her present manager and director, Ted Collins, in the 
latter part of 1930. Under his able chaperonage she was 
introduced to radio’s millions on the evening of May i, 
1931. The popularity she had enjoyed theretofore was 
multiplied overnight. In four years of radio (by the end of 
1935) she was so much beloved by the American public 
that a short personal appearance broke the all-time at- 
tendance record at New York’s vaudeville mecca, the 
Palace. 

Aside from a thoroughly sound singing technique and a 
great natural radio voice (and there are many in radio who 
have this much), Kate Smith’s phenomenal success is 
attributable to the two basic virtues of her character — 
simplicity and sincerity. She enjoys the amusing ballyhoo 
that has accompanied her career (Governor “Ma” Fergu- 
son officially bestowed upon her a Texas Ranger’s badge, 
and the Winnebago tribe of the Sioux Indians call her 
Hom’b-o-goo-win-go, meaning “Glory of the Morn”), but 
she is an unspoilable workman. She sings her songs pretty 
much as they are written, and she is very nearly the only 
singer in radio who does this. She doesn’t slur, drag, jump, 
anticipate, or telescope the notes and phrases that make up 

q6 



THE KATE SMITH HOUR 



her songs, and she is one of the most industrious troupers 
known to the radio medium. 

Besides the characteristics of sincerity and simplicity, 
she has subsidiary virtues that even her invisible audience 
are willing to ascribe to her — genuineness, humor, whole- 
someness, and confidence — all of which can be heard in 
what she does, what she says, how she says it. A great 
fun-loving spirit seems to knit these qualities together. (In 
this connection it will be remembered that much of her 
stage attractiveness was explained by her skillful stomps 
and tap routines, quite an assignment for a girl who weighed 
235 pounds.) 

Under the direction of Ted Collins she has put together 
the best variety show in American radio. Her Christmas 
broadcast (December 22, 1938) was an excellent example 
of well-balanced variety entertainment, properly routined 
and programed. 



97 



The Kate Smith Hour* 



gaflaafl g flflflafl fl flfigfl o goooooQtt ooooQOQoooooooQQooooQ< 

Music. — “When the Moon Comes Over the Mountain.” 

Baruch. — Swans Down Cake Flour and Calumet Baking 
Powder . . . your two best baking friends . . . present the 
Kate Smith Hour! 

Music. — Orchestra swells into “Along the Texas Trail.” Fade on 
cue, hut continue softly through following. 

Ted Collins. — Good evening. This is Ted Collins inviting you 
in to our radio playhouse, where brilliantly lighted Christ- 
mas trees reflect the hoHday spirit. Tonight our Kate Smith 
Christmas party features : 

Baruch. — The Kate Smith Singers. 

Jack Miller’s Band. 

Abbott and Costello. 

The Aldrich Family, starring Ezra Stone. 

The Senior Chorus of the New York Institute for the Blind. 
And that great lady of the theater . . . Miss Ethel Barry- 
more! 

Collins. — And now the spotlight falls on your hostess . . . 
The Songbird of the South . . . Kate Smith! 

Music. — Orchestra up. 

Kate Smith. — Hello, everybody. Welcome to our big Christmas 
party. We’re full of good cheer, and this first song by the 
boys and girls explains it ... “I Never Felt Better.” 

Music. — “7 Never Felt Better.” {Orchestra and chorus) 

Music. — “Funny Little Snowman.” Fade for 

Collins. — A new song makes its first air appearance as Kate 
Smith sings . . . ‘‘ Funny Little Snowman.” 

* Reprinted by special permission of Ted Collins, authorized agent of the 
Kate Smith Hour, copyright, 1939. 



THE KATE SMITH HOUR 



Music. — {Orchestra and Kate.) "'Funny Little Snowman.” Follow 
by “What Have You Got That Gets Me?” Fade for 

Collins. — The Songbird of the South puts this question to 
swing . . . “What Have You Got That Gets Me?” 

Music. — “ What Have You Got That Gets Me?” 

Music. — Aldrich theme. Fade for 

Kate. — The Aldrich Family, starring Ezra Stone and supported 
by Betty Field, Lea Penman, and Clyde Fillmore, is written 
for us each week by Clifford Goldsmith, whose current hit, 
“What a Life,” is now playing at the Biltmore Theatre 
here in New York. 

The scene opens in the Aldrich living room. Mr. Aldrich 
is enjoying the open fire. Mrs. Aldrich is wrapping packages. 

Mr. Aldrich. — Well ... it seems good to sit down here by 
this fire. 

Mrs. Aldrich. — It seems good to sit down any place. The fruit 
cakes are all baked and wrapped. 

Henry. — {Door opens) Mother. 

Mrs. Aldrich. — I thought you had gone to rehearse your play, 
Henry. 

Henry. — Do you think I ought to take Miss Stevens some kind 
of a present ? 

Mrs. Aldrich. — Who is Miss Stevens ? 

Henry. — She’s the one that’s directing our play. 

Mr. Aldrich. — Is Miss Stevens giving you anything? 

Henry. — I thought you shouldn’t think about things like that, 
father. 

Mr. Aldrich. — You shouldn’t. And let us hope Miss Stevens 
doesn’t either. 

Henry. — But don’t you see, tonight is the night Miss Stevens 
decides whether Jimmy Bartlet or I get the leading part . . . 

Mrs. Aldrich. — Then don’t you think a present would look 
just a bit like bribery ? 



99 



BEST BROADCASTS OF 1938-39 ' 

Henry. — In what way ? ... It would just be a gesture of good 
will. 

Mr. Aldrich. — If all you want to give her is a gesture, you have 
my permission to do so. 

Henry. — Isn’t there anything around the house I could give 
her? 

Mrs. Aldrich. — Such as what ? 

Henry. — Well . . . how about a silver vegetable dish? 

Mr. Aldrich. — Yes! 

Henry. — All right. . . . {his voice fades) . . . {door closes) 

Mrs. Aldrich. — I wonder why it is, Sam, Christmas never 
seems the same. 

Mr. Aldrich. — Christmas has changed. We don’t even have as 
much snow as we used to. 

Mrs. Aldrich. — And this is the first year since I can remember 
that we haven’t been having a houseful of company. 

Henry. — {Door opens) Mother. 

Mrs. Aldrich. — Henry! I thought you had gone! 

Henry. — I just had an idea. Have you mailed that box of pres- 
ents to Aunt Harriet yet ? 

Mrs. Aldrich. — No. 

Henry. — Couldn’t I take some little thing out of that? Some- 
thing she wouldn’t even miss ? 

Mrs. Aldrich. — Do you think that would be very nice? 

Henry. — She’ll only send you back most of it next year anyhow. 

Mr. Aldrich. — Can you promise Miss Stevens would do as much ? 

Mrs. Aldrich. — Supposing you take Miss Stevens a fruit cake ? 

Henry. — Why didn’t we think of that before ? 

Mrs. Aldrich. — Be sure you take one of the poimd cakes, dear. 
Are you listening ? 

Henry. — {Slightly of) Yes, mother. 



100 



THE KATE SMITH HOUR 



Mrs. Aldrich. — T hey are in the pantry on the second shelf. 
The 5 -pound cakes are on the first shelf. 

Henry. — Y es, mother. Thank you, mother. Good-by. {Door 
closes) 

Mrs. Aldrich. — I don’t Hke to admit it, Sam, but I do hope 
Henry beats that awful Jimmy Bartlet out for the part. 

Mr. Aldrich. — I never cared for Mr. Bartlet . . . always show- 
ing off his money. 

{Board jade on last two lines) 

Several Voices . — Ad libbing. Out of the hum comes 

Miss Stevens . — {A rather pleasing voice) Quiet, everybody! 
Quiet, please! {Voices die down) We can’t rehearse with 
everyone talking, you know. {Voices fade) 

Henry. — G ood evening. Miss Stevens. 

Miss Stevens. — G ood evening, Henry. Everybody backstage 
until I’m ready for you, please. {She claps her hands) 

Henry. — W hen are Jimmy Bartlet and I going to have our 
tryout. Miss Stevens? 

Miss Stevens. — R ight away, Henry. And I hope that no matter 
how I decide, neither of you will feel there was an3ffhing 
personal about it. 

Henry. — N ot so far as I’m concerned. Miss Stevens. Of course, 
Jimmy Bartlet may be a little jealous in the end. . . . 
Here’s something I brought you. 

Miss Stevens. — ^W hy, Henry! 

Henry. — I t’s just a . . . fruit cake. 

Miss Stevens. — I t must be enormous. 

Henry. — I t’s only a pound one. 

Miss Stevens. — N ow, Henry! . . . That must weigh at least 
5 pounds! 

Henry. — Y eah ? . . . Five pounds ? . . . Hmm. . . . 

Jim. — {Approaching. His enunciation is perfect . . . and he 
probably wears glasses) Good evening. Miss Stevens. 



lOI 



BEST BROADCASTS OF 1938-39 

Miss Stevens. — G ood evening, Jimmy Bartlet. 

Jim. — H ere is a gift I just happened to bring you. 

Miss Stevens. — J immy! 

Jim. — I t’s a fruit cake. 

Henry. — A bout how much does it weigh ? 

Jim. — T hree pounds. 

Henry. — T hree. . . . That’s just a nice size ... if you can’t 
get a s-pounder, of course. 

Jim. — I bought it at Jones’s Bakery. 

Henry. — O h . , . your mother didn’t have time to bake it ? 

Jim. — M y mother doesn’t have to bake, I’ll have you understand. 

Henry. — I’ ll bet she doesn’t know how to. 

Jim. — M y mother happens to be spending the holidays abroad. 
Where is your mother spending hers ? 

Henry. — S he’s sick of Europe. This year she’s sta5dng home. 

Jim. — W ould you excuse me while I speak to my chauffeur? 
{Voice jades) 

Henry. — I magine ! 

Miss Stevens. — A fter all, underneath, Jimmy is a very fine boy. 

Henry. — U nderneath. . . . Nice-looking fellow on the stage, 
too . . . provided he doesn’t face you head on, of course. 
. . . But maybe you could have him play the part so that 
he keeps his back to the audience. 

Miss Stevens. — H enry. 

Henry. — I hope I don’t seem to be running him down. Miss 
Stevens. 

Miss Stevens. — N o . . . no . . . not at all. 

Henry. — J immy would look very good playing opposite Phoebe 
Anne ... if Phoebe could just wear some slippers that 
didn’t have any heels on them. ... You know what I 
mean ? So Jimmy wouldn’t look so nmty beside her ? 

Jim. — W ho looks runty ? 



102 



THE KATE SMITH HOUR 



Miss Stevens. — All right, boys. For the time being, Henry, you 
will read the lead and Jimmy can be Henry’s imcle. On the 
stage, please. 

Jim. — F rom the beginning? 

Miss Stevens. — From the beginning. 

Henry. — Yes, Miss Stevens. 

{The microphone remains with the two hoys. We hear them 
mount the steps on the stage. Miss Stevens is slightly ojff) 
Could you stand over there, please, Jimmy ? 

Jimmy. — It seems to me this is where I would stand. 

Henry. — {Patiently) Miss Stevens, could you please ask Jimmy 
to stand over there ? 

Miss Stevens. — Is there any particular reason, Henry? 

Henry. — He’s right between me and the audience. 

Jim. — But this is the natural place for me ... or do you 
want me to stand some place that is contrary to my whole 
character ? 

Henry. — Miss Stevens, would you mind asking Jimmy once 
more to stand over there ? Or must I muss up his character ? 

Jim. — I’d Hke to see you dare to muss me. 

Henry. — Oh, you would, eh ? 

Sound. — A book drops to the floor. 

Miss Stevens. — Boys! 

Henry. — I’ll have him moved in just a minute, Miss Stevens! 

Miss Stevens. — Henry! 

Jim. — ^Let go of me! 

Mr. Aldrich. — Henry Aldrich! 

Henry. — Yes, father! . . . Are you here? 

Mr. Aldrich. — I certainly am! 

Henry. — Did you want something, father ? 

Mr. Aldrich. — I do. 



103 



BEST BROADCASTS OF 1938-39 

Henry. — Yes, sir. 

Sound. — Henry going down the steps and then walking. 

Henry. — Is somebody in the family sick, father ? 

Mr. Aldrich. — Just come here, please. 

Henry. — Yes, father. 

Mr. Aldrich. — {Lowers voice slightly) I want to ask you some- 
thing. Did you take a fruit cake from the pantry shelf ? 

Henry. — Yes, sir. 

Mr. Aldrich. — Was it a i-poimd or a 5-poimd cake? 

Henry. — I picked up ... I suppose . . . you mean there’s a 
5 -pound one missing ? 

Mr. Aldrich. — Will you please go to Miss Stevens and explain 
the circumstances and tell her you would like to have the 
cake back? 

Henry. — But I can’t do that, father! 

Mr. Aldrich. — Why not ? 

Henry. — Well . . . she might have eaten it. 

Mr. Aldrich. — The entire 5 pounds? Do you realize that your 
mother went to considerable trouble to bake that cake for a 
poor family that is going to have httle else for Christmas ? 

Henry. — But couldn’t I at least wait until Miss Stevens has 
decided which of us is to get the leading part ? 

Mr. Aldrich. — Perhaps you would prefer that I ask her! 

Henry. — I’ll ask her. . . . 1 ’U ask her. . . . You wait here a 
minute. {Walking) Miss Stevens, could I . . . {clears 
throat) speak to you about something ? 

Miss Stevens. — I’m busy right now, Henry. 

Jim. — {Approaching Miss Stevens, would you mind taking this? 

Miss Stevens. — What in the world is it, Jimmy ? 

Jim. — I asked the chauffeur to go and get you a larger cake. 

Miss Stevens. — You shouldn’t have done that, Jimmy! 

J04 



THE KATE SMITH HOUR 



Jim. — I t wasn’t any trouble, I assure you. {Voice fades) 

Henry. — Could I say just one word, Miss Stevens ? 

Miss Stevens. — Don’t tell me you have one that is even larger, 
Henry. 

Henry. — No, ma’am. . . . It’s a funny thing, but . . . when 
my mother baked that cake I gave you she made a little 
mistake. 

Miss Stevens. — I’m sure that no matter how she made it it will 
taste delicious. 

Henry. — But the trouble is . . . 

Miss Stevens. — Now don’t apologize. 

Henry. — But when she baked it she accidently put some poison 
in it. 

Miss Stevens. — Henry! 

Henry. — It’s deadly poison. And my father would like it back. 

Mr. Aldrich. — I’m sorry, Henry, but did you explain that we 
want the cake for a poor family that won’t be having any- 
thing else for Christmas ? 

Miss Stevens. — With the poison ? 

Mr. Aldrich. — What poison? 

Henry. — In the cake. 

Mr. Aldrich. — In what cake ? 

Miss Stevens. — I see. . . . (she almost laughs) Won’t you come 
with me, Henry? I left it in this back room. {They are 
walking 

Henry. — My father doesn’t always hear very well. 

Miss Stevens. — Isn’t it lucky we didn’t pass the cake around 
to everyone ? 

Henry. — It certainly is. 

Miss Stevens. — Here we are. . . . 

Henry. — It’s dark in here. 



BEST BROADCASTS OF 1938-39 



Miss Stevens. — P erhaps there’s enough light coming in from 
the street lamp so we can see. . . . There it is. . . . 

Henry. — Y es, Miss Stevens. 

Miss Stevens. — H enry, do you mind my asking you something? 

Henry. — W hat about ? 

Miss Stevens. — W ould you be too disappointed if you didn’t 
play the lead opposite Phoebe Anne ? 

Henry. — I see. . . . You’re giving it to Jimmy Bartlet? 

Miss Stevens. — I’ m simply asking you, Henry. 

Henry. — Y eah ? 

Miss Stevens. — S omething tells me Jimmy Bartlet is a rather 
lonely boy . . . much more so than any of us might imagine. 

Henry. — ^L onely ? . . . With a chauffeur in the family ? 

Miss Stevens. — E ven with a chauffeur. I happen to know that 
on Christmas Day his mother and father will be in Europe 
... as they were last Christmas. 

Henry. — W ell . . . ? 

Miss Stevens. — W ould you like to come downstairs on Christ- 
mas morning in an enormous house . . . with no one to say 
Merry Christmas to you but a chauffeur and a butler and a 
housekeeper? . . . Don’t you think he’d be just a bit 
happier that day if he knew that some place he had some 
friends who thought quite a bit of him ? 

Henry. — I n spite of his looks? 

Miss Stevens. — I n spite of everything . . . even in spite of all 
his money. . . . What would you think, Henry ... if we 
should give him the lead ? 

Henry. — D on’t you think a little home-made fruit cake would 
cheer him up just as much ? He said he’d never had any. 

Miss Stevens. — I don’t believe anything could mean quite so 
much to him as that part, Henry. 

Henry. — I know. . . . But I’d planned on it quite a little 
myself. Miss Stevens. 

J06 



THE KATE SMITH HOUR 



Jim. — {Approaching) You aren’t going to go on with the tryout, 
Miss Stevens ? 

Henry. — The tryouts are all over. 

Jim. — T hey’re all over! 

Henry. — That’s what I said, they’re all over! 

Jim. — I understand. . . . Then I’m out. 

Henry. — What do you mean, you’re out? You poor dope. . . . 
You get the lead! 

Jim. — I don’t really, do I? 

Miss Stevens. — Didn’t Henry say you did ? 

Jim. — I know . . . but . . . 

Henry. — I never did like the part. 

Miss Stevens. — ^Look out the window, boys. Under the street 
lamp . . . the snow is starting to fall. . . . Have you ever 
seen such large flakes ? 

Mr. Aldrich. — ( 0^) Henry! 

Henry. — I’ve got it, father! {To Jim) Listen, Funnyface, if you 
aren’t doing anything else on Christmas why don’t you come 
over to our house for dinner ? 

Jim. — I’d like very much to, only the help have instructions not 
to let me out of their sight. 

Henry. — How much help have you got ? 

Jim. — Three. 

Mr. Aldrich. — {Off) Henry! 

Henry. — Well, bring them along! 

Jim. — Y ou don’t mean it, do you? 

Henry. — Why not? We’ll just set four more places! Coming, 
father ! 

Music. — “ That's Silly.” Fade for 

Kate. — Well, everyone in Mopeyville is happy with Christmas 
cheer and fun tonight, for as Mope)rville goes ... so go 
. . . Btid Abbott and Lou Costello. 



107 



BEST BROADCASTS OF 1938-39 

Lou. — (Sings) 

“Jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle all the day. 

Three more days till Christmas, and then what bills to pay.” 

Bud. — Costello, you’re certainly in a happy mood. I suppose 
you’re all through with your Christmas shopping. Hey! 
What’s that string tied around your finger for ? 

Lou. — That’s to remind me to remind my wife to ask me if I 
forgot something she told me to remember. 

Bud. — Which reminds me. I forgot to get my wife a nutcracker. 

Lou. — What kind ? Flat iron or rolhng pin ? 

Bud. — Talk sense. What did you forget ? 

Lou. — A present for my Uncle Bumble Bee. 

Bud. — What a name. Uncle Bumble Bee. 

Lou. — Yeah. That’s because everybody he touches gets sttmg. 
I’m gonna buy him a shaving brush and a razor. 

Bud. — Has he got a mug? 

Lou. — Oh, boy! You should see her. 

Bud. — Well, all I need now is my Christmas turkey. 

Lou. — Abbott, was I lucky! I got a turkey for running. 

Bud. — Who did you beat ? 

Lou. — The butcher and two policemen. 

Bud. — Costello, you’ll end up by spending Christmas in the 
poHce station. 

Lou. — Well, that’s all right in a pinch. Hey, Abbott, come over 
to the house Christmas and eat some turkey. 

Bud. — Why shovdd I have to eat txrrkey on Christmas? Maybe 
I’d like chicken. 

Lou. — I haven’t got any chicken. I got turkey. 

Bud. — Well, is that my fault ? Why didn’t you ask me what I’d 
like before you invited me over? If I want chicken, why 
should you force me to eat turkey ? 

Lou. — Who’s forcing you to eat turkey ? Don’t eat it. 

108 



THE KATE SMITH HOUR 



Bud. — I see. Now I shouldn’t eat it. I should go hungry while you 
stuff yourself. 

Lou. — Who wants you to go hungry? Aw, I’ll go out and steal a 
chicken. 

Bud. — And what happens to the turkey? 

Lou. — I’ll give it to the dog. 

Bud. — That’s fine. You feed the dog turkey and want me to eat 
chicken. 

Lou. — ^Look, Abbott, what do you keep arguing for? Look at me. 
I’m congenial. 

Bud. — Oh, now you’re using an asstuned name. Who are you to 
travel incognito ? 

Lou. — Who’s traveling in magneto? I ain’t using a consumed 
name. I use my own name. You can find it on my front door. 

Bud. — Why should I look for your name? I know what it is. 

Lou. — Then don’t look for it. 

Bud. — I see. I shouldn’t look for your name. I shoidd walk into 
somebody else’s house by mistake and get shot for a burglar. 

Lou. — Ah, I don’t want you to get shot. I’m trying to tell you, 
you’re welcome at my house. The door is always open for 
you. 

Bud. — Now, you’re going to leave the door open. You want me 
to sit in a draft and catch cold. 

Lou. — Who wants you to catch cold! I’ll close the door. I’ll lock 
the door. 

Bud. — And what am I supposed to do, crawl in the window? 

Lou. — What do you mean, crawl in the window? I’ll bring you 
into the house. 

Bud. — Oh, you’ll bring me in. What’s the matter, don’t you think 
I can walk ? Do you expect me to come over inebriated ? 

Lou. — Who cares if you’re inebriated? You don’t have to be 
inebriated. You can wear anything you want. I just want 
you to have some nice young turkey. 



log 



BEST BROADCASTS OF 1938-39 

Bud. — How do you know it’s a young turkey ? How can you tell 
a turkey’s age ? 

Lou. — By the teeth. 

Bud. — A tiurkey has no teeth. 

Lou. — No, but I have. 

Bud. — Is the turkey dressed ? 

Lou. — Did you ever see a turkey mnning around the streets 
without any clothes on? Certainly it’s dressed. It has on a 
suit of feathers. 

Bud. — If it has feathers on, then it isn’t dressed. 

Lou. — How do you like that ? If it has feathers, it isn’t dressed. 
Look; I’m talking about a turkey, not a fan dancer. 

Bud. — So am I talking about a turkey, and if it has feathers on, 
it isn’t dressed. 

Lou. — Well, what do you want it to wear, a shirt waist and 
panties, or do you want me to take it to my tailor and say, 
“ Make my turkey a cutaway suit, he’s going out for Christ- 
mas dinner” ? 

Bud. — That’s not necessary. I thought maybe the butcher 
dressed the turkey. 

Lou. — That’s ridiculous. Do you think the butcher has time to 
put clothes on animals? 

Bud. — No. 

Lou. — Do you think he says to his customers, ‘‘How would you 
like your turkey dressed, as Snow White or one of the Seven 
Dwarfs”? 

Bud. — You don’t tmderstand. When I say, ‘‘Is the ttukey 
dressed?” I don’t mean, is the turkey dressed? 

Lou. — No? What do you mean? 

Bud. — I mean, is the turkey dressed? 

Lou. — Ah, this thing is getting too complicated for me. I should 
a stole a hot dog. 

Bud. — T hen why did you steal the turkey in the first place? 



no 



THE KATE SMITH HOUR 



Lou. — Who stole it in the first place? I had to try three places 
before I got it. 

Bud. — Well, what I’m trying to find out is this: Did you pick 
its feathers ? 

Lou. — Did I pick its feathers ! I never saw the turkey before. Do 
you think I know the style in turkey feathers ? It picked its 
own feathers. 

Bud. — That’s impossible. It couldn’t pick its own feathers. 

Lou. — All right, then its mother chose them for it. 

Bud. — Costello, when I say, “Pick its feathers,” I don’t mean 
pick its feathers. 

Lou. — I know. You mean, pick its feathers. This thing gets 
sillier all the time. 

Bud. — There’s nothing silly about it. You’ve got to pick its 
feathers. They’re good for quills. 

Lou. — Well, who’s got quills. I haven’t been sick a day in 5 years. 

Bud. — Costello, I’m trying to tell you that you can’t cook that 
turkey with its feathers on. 

Lou. — Are you kidding ? 

Bud. — Certainly not. You’ve got to pick the feathers. 

Lou. — I’ll let my wife pick them. She picks everything else I get. 

Bud. — Does she pick your clothes ? 

Lou. — Only the pockets. 

Bud. — That’s fine. You get mad if your wife picks your pockets, 
but it’s all right for you to steal a turkey. You don’t care 
if the mama and papa turkey sit in their coop all day on 
Christmas and cry because you’re having their baby tmkey 
for dinner. 

Lou. — I’m a bad boy. 

Bud. — You are a bad boy. 

Lou. — I’m the kind of boy my mother don’t want me to associate 
with. 

Bud. — You bet you are. 



Ill 



BEST BROADCASTS OF 1938-39 

Lou. — I shouldn’t be allowed to carve the turkey on Christmas. 

Bud. — You won’t be allowed. I’ll carve the turkey. I’ll hand out 
the portions. 

Lou. — Then I’ll probably end up with the wishbone. 

Bud. — What’s the matter with the wishbone ? It’s lucky. 

Lou. — Yeah? Well, the turkey had it, and it didn’t do him any 
good. 

Bud. — Keep quiet while I figure out how I’ll serve the turkey. 
Now, I’ll take the two legs. 

Lou. — ^Look, Abbott, I’d hke to have one of the legs. 

Bud. — Sure, the turkey only has two legs, and you want a leg. 
You’re the most selfish person I’ve ever met. 

Lou. — Oh, I’m a wanton. 

Bud. — What do you mean, you’re a wanton? 

Lou. — I’m a wanton one of those turkey legs. 

Bud. — Never mind that. I’ll take the two legs. My wife will take 
the two wings. . . . 

Lou. — Well, could I sit imder the table and pick up the crumbs? 

Bud. — I’ll take care of your share later. Let me see. That’s the 
two legs and wings, and yoxir wife will take the white meat, 
your uncle the heart and liver. 

Lou. — Look, Abbott, could I lick the plate ? I gotta come out of 
this with something. 

Bud. — Will you stop butting in! Now, that takes care of the legs, 
wings, white meat, heart, liver and oh, yes, your mother- 
in-law gets the neck and giblets, and you . . . 

Lou. — Aw, never mind me. I’ll sit on the fence and grab mine 
as it goes by ! 

Music. — Chord. Then “Laugh and Call It Love” and fade for 

Collins. — Here’s Kate with some rhythmic philosophy . . . 
“Laugh and Call It Love.” 

Music. — “Laugh and Call It Love." 



II2 



THE KATE SMITH HOUR 



Kate. — ^Ladies and gentlemen, have you ever been called up 
before the boss to explain something you have done? . . . 
It’s kind of a ticklish proposition, isn’t it? . . . Well, 
tonight . . . the situation is reversed. I have called on my 
boss tonight . . . not to put him on the carpet but to have 
him say a few well-chosen words in behalf of Christmas. . . . 
I am happy indeed to present the president of General 
Foods . . . my boss . . . Mr. Clarence Francis . . . 

Francis. — Thank you, Kate Smith! . . . Any time you need a 
job . . . let me know! 

Ladies and gentlemen, I know we agree on one real reason 
for happiness, regardless of our own personal fortunes or 
misfortunes at this particular moment. ... We are living 
in good old America. I say “good old America’’ advisedly, 
because the more we learn of war, strife, class hatreds, and 
misery in other parts of the world, the more certain we are 
that we are indeed fortunate in living here. I know you 
share this feeling. I am sure that down deep in your hearts 
you are thankful and therefore happy. 

We all know, however, that there are far too many men 
and women unemployed. Theirs may be a bleak Christmas 
vmless in each community those who are more fortunate 
do what they can to help. The parents can “take it," but let 
us each think of the children. 

Real Americans want to work. The best Christmas present 
to the unemployed would be jobs. Would that Santa could 
deliver one to each right now! Making jobs for aU who 
would work is America’s Job Number One! I feel happy 
because of many signs that industry, labor, and govern- 
ment intend to meet on common ground to start the wheels 
of indtistry whirling at a faster clip. I feel sure that, with 
the sympathy, understanding, and determination to provide 
more jobs, great progress will be made. 

Thank goodness that our good neighbor, Canada, shares 
our ideals, principles, and determination. Canada, too, is a 
grand country. 

On the prairies ... in remote comers of our two countries, 
live millions of men and women who raise food for all our 
families ... to them we send our greetings. Also to the 
merchants, om: customers. 

To our own family of 10,000 workers and to nearly 70,000 
men and women who have intrusted their savings with us, 

II3 



BEST BROADCASTS OF 1938-39 



your company extends its gratitude and wishes you a Merry 
Christmas. 

To all others devoting their lives to feeding our two coun- 
tries . . . the delivery boy, driver, wholesaler, warehouse- 
man, supplier, factory worker, salesman, typist ... to all 
friends of the Kate Smith Hour . . . General Foods says; 
A Merry Christmas and a New Year of peace, prosperity, and 
happiness. Keep the faith. . . . Carry on. There are better 
things in store for all ! . . . Thank you ! 

Music. — “ The Rosary.” Fade for 

Collins. — For her memory song this evening, Kate Smith sings 
“The Rosary.” 

Music. — "The Rosary.” {Orchestra and Kate). Segue into "Sweet 
Melody.” Fade for 

Collins. — We pause for just a moment to tell you that you are 
listening to the Kate Smith Hour, brought to you by 
Calumet Baking Powder and Swans Down Cake Flour . . . 
your two best baking friends. We shall continue after station 
identification. This is the Columbia . . . Broadcasting 
System. 

Music. — "Jingle Bells.” 

Collins. — Here we are back again to go on a sleigh ride with 
Ted Straeter and the Kate Smith Singers to the tune of 
“Jingle Bells.” 

Music. — {Orchestra and chorus). "Jingle Bells.” 

Applause . . . 

Mood music. Fade for 

Kate. — At this Christmas season I am happy to be able to bring 
you carols by one of the finest vocal organizations I have 
heard. I’ve brought this chorus of boys and girls . . . every 
member of which is blind ... to my program tonight so 
you too may enjoy their glorious voices. The Senior Chorus 
of the New York Institute for the blind, under the direction 
of Mr. Noel Kempton, sing first . . . “Noel” and then 
“Lo, How a Rose E’er Blooming.” 

Music. — "Noel.” "Lo, How a Rose E'er Blooming.” 

Kate. — And now our Christmas play. 

II4 



THE KATE SMITH HOUR 



Music . — Mood music. Fade for 

Kate. — W e are privileged in having with us to appear in this 
play one of the most famous names the theatre has ever 
known. A name made famous by the great dramatic talents 
of its bearer . . . Miss Ethel Barrymore. 

Music . — Few bars of gay Spanish fiesta song. . . . “B.” . . . . 
Fades for 

Narrator. — T he very same late December sun that dances on 
the winter snows up north sprawls indolently at ease in 
the thick white dust of El Camino del Norte, Old Mexico. 
A lean and ancient woman has paused to rest in the cool 
dripping shade of a pepper tree. . . . She is suddenly 
awakened by the shrill voice of Pablo . . . aged ten . . . 
who stands with bare brown legs wide apart in the center 
of the road and bitterly addresses a small discouraged 
donkey.* . . . 

Pablo . — {In high indignation) A donkey. A donkey, you call your- 
self, Estupido! A fine animal with four stout legs ... a 
splendid tail to shoo off the flies . . . and a head stuck 
on the front to point the way you are going ! Asi ! And what 
' use do you make of this most excellent equipment the good 
God has given you? Nothing! Absolutely nothing! You are a 
disgrace to all the donkeys of all Mexico! Of all the world 
... of all the . . . 

Woman . — {Just off) Pablo . . . ! 

Pablo. — {Automatically) Si. . . . {Sees the woman) Oh . . . 
buenas dias, I did not know that . . . 

Woman . — {Coming in) Whatever is the trouble, my son? What 
has the poor beast done that you should be so angry ? 

Pablo. — {Exasperated) But nothing . . . ! 

Woman. — T hen why? 

Pablo. — {Bitterly) And nothing is all he ever wants to do! Here 
it is . . . but two days until Christmas . . . when a load 
of wood could be sold in the village to buy gifts and a candle. 
But does that matter to him ? No! He cares for nothing but 
nothing ! 

Woman. — {Laughing) Well ... a donkey’s a donkey, Pablo. 
They’re all the same. 

* Original sketch by Charles Tazewell. 



II5 



BEST BROADCASTS OF 1938-39 

Pablo. — B ut why should it be so? Of all beasts, why must a 
donkey be so ... so stubborn ? 

Woman. — S tubborn? Oh, no, Pablo . . . that’s wrong. . . . 

Pablo. — B ut . . 

Woman. — {Quickly) I know! Everyone says they are. They ctrrse 
him and belabor his back with sticks and call him stupid. 
But that’s only because they don’t know the true facts. 

Pablo. — T he true facts ? 

Woman. — S i. It’s really not stubbornness but pride that makes 
aU small donkeys so . . . well, so aloof. No sun, wind, 
storm, pain or adversity can touch them. Their pride is a 
shield against all the discomforts man or the elements can 
offer. 

Pablo. — B ut what has a donkey to be proud of ? 

Woman. — O h ... a great deal, Pablo! Bring your beast over 
here in the shade . . . and perhaps I can explain it to 

you. . . . 

Pablo . — {Clicking his tongue) Tsch . . . tsch! Come along, 
Cupido. . . . 

Music. — “C” cue xylophone . . . muted with hand so that the 
notes are dull and metallic. First four notes of “ Silent Night” 
. . . the fourth note thrown up an octave so that the tune will 
not be recognized . . . these same four notes are repeated 
three times, representing the donkey's hoofbeats as he is led to 
the shade of the pepper tree. 

Woman . — {During second sequence of four notes) Listen! Do you 
hear that, Pablo ? Only a small donkey can make that sound 
with his hooves as he walks on the stones. No other beast 
can do it. . . . Sit down ... sit down, my son. . . . 

Pablo. — G racias . . . Gracias. 

Woman. — N ow ... as I was saying . . . people are all wrong 
about donkeys, you see. ... A very long time ago ... a 
great honor came to one of them ... an honor so great 
that it raised him and all his many descendants to an 
exalted place. A place that you or I or all the world might 
envy. Ever since then all small donkeys have been content 
to stand and drowse in the sim or shade ... for they alone, 

I16 



THE KATE SMITH HOUR 



of all other animals and men, have already fulfilled their 
destiny. 

Pablo. — I ... I don’t quite understand. 

Woman. — W ell . . . once upon a time, as all stories must begin 
. . . there was a little donkey. He was fourteen unhappy 
years old . . . and he had worked for at least twice fourteen 
masters. . . . 

Music. — “D” cue. Start xylophone very dim . . . first four notes 
of Silent Night” . . . raising fourth note one octave. Put 
slight rest between third and fourth note to denote limp . . . 
continue until cued out. 

Woman. — {Continuing He was battered and scarred . . . and 
presented a most disreputable appearance. His tail was 
naught but a piece of rope, unraveled at the end. One of his 
ears stood straight up like a cactus plant . . . while the 
other hung drooping like a wilted cabbage leaf. In his off 
hind leg was a decided limp. 

Pablo. — W hat was his name ? 

Woman. — T hey called him Small One. His latest master was a 
woodcutter, who also owned four younger and therefore 
stronger donkeys. But Small One was the special charge 
and favorite of the woodcutter’s son. It was the boy who 
saw that Small One always had dry straw for his bed . . . 
and that the load of wood to be carried to the town was not 
too heavy for Small One’s aging back. But . . . one day 
the woodcutter called his son to him and said . . . 

Music. — cue. Xylophone, with violins. 

Father. — S on! 

Boy . — {Coming in) Yes, father? 

Father. — {Ponderously) I have a task for you to do in the town. 

Boy. — load of wood ? 

Father. — N o. I wish you to take the old donkey . . . the one 
you call Small One ... to a shop just inside the town 
gates. I have already spoken to the man. He will give you 
one piece of silver in exchange for the beast. 



I17 



BEST BROADCASTS OF 1938-39 

Boy. — {Horrified) You mean . . . you don't mean you’re going 
to sell Small One ? 

Father. — {Sternly) He can no longer do his share of the work. 
Even carrying half the load of the other donkeys, his worn- 
out legs tremble, and his sides work Hke a bellows. . . . 

Boy. — {Eagerly) But he’ll be as strong as the others soon! You 
wait and see. Give him a few weeks and . . . 

Father . — {Breaking in) An old donkey is of no use! One day 
soon he might drop dead on us up in the hills ... a total 
loss. Better to take the piece of silver and say good riddance 
to the animal. You will start at once. 

Boy . — {Trying to keep back the tears) Yes, father. . . . 

Father. — T he shop is the second on the left as you enter the 
town gates. . . . 

Boy. — T he second ? But . . . but that’s the tanner’s! 

Father. — A nd what of that? The Small One’s hide is old . . . 
but it will make good leather nevertheless. 

Boy. — B ut he’s been faithful. . . . He’s worked. . . . He’s done 
his best! You can’t sell him to the tanner to be killed. 

Father. — {Sternly) Come, now. . . . I’ll have no tears! 

Music . — Xylophone begins same sequence of Jour notes . . . dim. 

Father. — {Continuing) No crying over a miserable donkey. 
Hurry ... be off with you. And take care not to lose that 
piece of silver on the way home. . . . 

Music. — “F” cue. Orchestra comes in, improvising on theme of 
Jour notes played by xylophone . . . hold for a Jew seconds 
. . . then Jade down and out, leaving xylophone muted, 
continuing. . . . 

Woman . — {Fading in) . . . And so, Pablo, the small boy and the 
small donkey began their sorrowful journey toward the 
town. The boy was heartbroken . . . and cried for a while. 
Then he tried desperately to think of some way to save the 
life of his friend. The sotmd of the Small One’s hooves on 
the road seemed to repeat, over and over again, “Going to 
the tanner’s . . . going to the tanner’s.’’ 

I18 



THE KATE SMITH HOUR 



Woman. — Then ... it suddenly came to the lad’s mind that 
there was a horse market in the town . . . and if he could 
sell small one to some new and kind master, the little donkey 
would still live and the father would also have his piece of 
silver! It was early afternoon when the boy and Small One 
passed through the town gates and neared the market 
place. . . . As the padre says, “It was early afternoon . . . ’’ 

Sound. — Voices, shouts, cries, rumble of wheels, stamp of hooves, 
harking of dogs, the tinkling bell of a blind beggar, and all the 
other sounds of a busy market place fade in. These sounds 
come up full as the padre finishes. Take out xylophone hack of 
sound. 

Woman. — As he came closer, he could hear the booming voice of 
the auctioneer as he cried, “Who’U bid 51 for this fine 
Arabian steed . . . whose sire is so famous that naught but 
kings have sat his back . . . going at 51 . . . 51 . . . 
sold! 

Music. — Registers a second or two cue “G.” 

Woman. — The small boy was stunned to think that such beautiful 
horses were selHng for 50 and 60 pieces of silver. ... If he 
could only get one piece of silver for his aged donkey . . . 
just one. . . . He approached the auctioneer, dragging 
Small One behind him. . . . He stopped a few feet from the 
stand. “Would you like to buy a fine donkey, sir?” he said. 
. . . “He is kind and gentle, and I know he can do twice 
as much work as those horses they’re bidding 50 and 60. 



Sound. — Lotid laughter in the market place. 

Woman. — Time and again the boy went from person to person, 
trying to sell Small One. He could not face taking his wonder- 
ful donkey to the tanners . . . but they laughed at him. 
. . . Finally . . . the boy and the donkey left the market 
place ! 

Music. — Comes in .. . improvising on four-note theme, played 
by xylophone. Music dies out, leaving xylophone. 

Woman. — The hours were slipping by . . . and the boy knew 
he must soon start for home . . . and that he must have the 
piece of silver to give his father. He stopped people on the 
street. ... He inquired from door to door . . . But no one 



IIQ 



BEST BROADCASTS OF 1938-39 



desired to buy a small, tired donkey. The sun was sinking 
fast when he came at last back to the town gates and stood 
before the tanner’s door. The boy’s face was tear-streaked, 
and the Small One’s head drooped so low that his limp ear 
nearly touched the ground. The boy said good-by to the 
little beast . . . asked his forgiveness for what he was 
about to do . . . and there was understanding in the Httle 
donkey’s eyes. Then ... as the boy hfted the latch of the 
tanner’s door ... a voice spoke to him. . . . 

Music. — Xylophone, which has been repeating sequence of four 
notes through above, stops ... the fourth note of the last 
sequence timed to come just after woman stops speaking. The 
violins come in on this final note . . . sustaining it for a few 
seconds to mark change of scene. As this last sustained note 
ends . . . 

Voice . — {Just ojj) My son . . . 

Boy. — Y es? . . . Yes, sir? 

Voice. — (C oming in) I have a great favor to ask of you. Are 
you the owner of that small donkey ? 

Boy. — O h, yes, sir. . . . 

Voice. — I have a journey to make . . . and my wife is not well. 
I have need of a strong animal to carry her safely 

Boy. — S mall One is very strong . . . and very trustworthy. . . . 

Voice. — W ould you sell him to me? 

Boy. — {Eagerly) Yes. Oh, yes, sir! For but one piece of silver. 



Voice. — A very reasonable price for such a beautiful animal. 

Boy. — He’s . . . he’s not very beautiful . . . but . . . but he’s 
good. 

Voice. — I can see that. I’U be kind to him ... I promise you 
that. 

Boy. — Then he’ll work hard to please you. . . . 

Voice. — Here is your piece of silver. Come, Small One . . . 
we’ve a long way to go. . . . 

Music . — Xylophone starts repeating four notes. 



120 



THE KATE SMITH HOUR 



Boy. — D o you mind ... do you mind if I go as far as the town 
gate? You see, Small One and I . . . 

Voice. — O f course. You want to say good-by to him. You can 
do that while I see my wife safely on his back. Here we are 
. . . easy, Small One! 

Music . — Xylophone stops. 

Boy . — {Trying to hold back the tears) Good-by, Small One. . . . 
You must be very faithful. And . . . and it isn’t forever, 
you know. . . . When I grow up . . . and earn many 
pieces of silver . . . I’ll buy you back. . . . And you’ll 
have a fine stable . . . and nothing to do at all but sleep 
and eat. Won’t that be fine. Small One? 

Voice. — A ll right, my boy . . . we’re ready to go. . . . 

Guard . — {Off . . . coming in) Wait, traveler! I must make out 
the record before you pass through the town gates ! Who are 
you? 

Voice. — M y name is Joseph. 

Guard. — Y our wife? 

Voice. — T hey call her Mary. 

Guard. — Y our destination? 

Voice. — I s Bethlehem. 

Guard. — P ass! 

Voice. — C ome, Small One. {Xylophone begins the same four 
notes . . . the last note, as before, raised an octave) Good-by, 

son. . . . 

Boy. — {Crying) Good-by . . . good-by. Small One. . . . Carry 
. . . carry her safe to Bethlehem. . . . 

Music . — The xylophone continues . . . but with each repeat of 
the four-note sequence, the fourth note drops one tone lower 
until it is a true repetition of the first four notes of “Silent 
Night." When this is established, full orchestra picks it up and 
continues on into the song with chorus of voices back of it . 
dims for 

Woman. — A nd so, Pablo . . . the Small One traveled the weary 
miles to Bethlehem . . . and there in a stable . . . which 



I2I 



BEST BROADCASTS OF 1938-39 



became a king’s stable ... he saw a king born ... a king 
of men ... of centuries ... of life ... of death. The 
Small One’s old, tired eyes saw the Wise Men and shepherds 
who came to pay homage to his master . . . and he heard 
the voices of angels . . . rejoicing . . . singing the same 
notes his hooves had nmg out on the stones of the road. And 
it came to pass that those who had laughed at his ragged 
coat, his limping gait, and his drooping ear . . . they 
envied the Small One he was a part of a great miracle. . . . 
That was long, long ago, Pablo . . . but today, all little 
donkeys stand and dream . . . especially at Christmas 
time . . . dream of the Small One . . . the Small One of 
Bethlehem. 

Music. — Orchestra and voices up full. Segue '‘Silent Night” 
{Orchestra, Kate, and Institute Chorus). On cue orchestra 
segue into "Along the Texas Trail” and Jade under following. 

Collins. — This is Ted Collins, sa5dng good night. Be with us 
again next Thursday at Kate Smith time to celebrate the 
passing of good old 1938. The Aldrich Family and Abbott 
and Costello will, as usual, take part in the festivities, and 
as I talk to you one of Hollywood’s most beloved stars is 
en route to New York to join us. His name is Jean Hersholt. 
Until then . . . 

Kate. — All of us at Swans Down and Calumet want to wish you 
a very merry Christmas. Thanks for listenin’. . . . And 
good night, folks! 

Music. — Orchestra up to finish. 



122 



BEST NEWS COMMENTARY (AD LIB) 



Czech Crisis 

by H. V. Kaltenborn 

iLSLSiXSLSLSLSiSiSLSljLSLSLSLSLSLSLSLkSLSLlSLSLS^^ 

H arvest time in war-torn Spain. The year is 1936. 

Rebels are attacking the Loyalist city of Irun. A 
fierce battle is being fought on farm land just outside the 
city. Shells and bursting bombs dropped by planes wheeling 
overhead turn the once calm countryside into a holocaust. 

Suddenly a tall man dashes out from behind an aban- 
doned farmhouse and sprints for a haystack a hundred 
feet away. It is H. V. Kaltenborn, equipped with earphones 
and microphone, dragging a cable attached to the trans- 
mitter in near-by Hendaye. He makes the haystack in 
safety and from its vantage point gives Columbia Network 
listeners an on-the-scene account of Spain’s civil war. 

The incident is typical of Kaltenborn’s entire life. Wan- 
derlust has sent him all over the world. Resourcefulness and 
courage have given him many such scoops, both as news- 
paperman and radio reporter. 

He has interviewed Mussolini and Hitler and was often 
in Soviet Russia in the 1920’s, where he broadcast over 
Moscow’s powerful Comintern station. Mahatma Gandhi 
personally told him about conditions in India. Kaltenborn 
was one of the few Americans able to get into General Chiang 
Kai-shek’s headquarters for an interview. While in China, 
Kaltenborn was captured by bandits and held for ransom. 
They were on the point of thrusting him in front of a firing 
squad when the money arrived. 

The Columbia news analyst’s wanderings started when 
he was only nineteen, when he ran off and secretly enlisted 
to serve in the Spanish-American war. A cattle-boat trip 
to Europe followed, then a job with the Brooklyn Daily 
Eagle on his return. 

At twenty-four, he decided that a college education was 
desirable and enrolled as a special student at Harvard. He 



123 



BEST BROADCASTS OF 1938-39 

won a Phi Beta Kappa key, the Boylston Prize for public 
speaking, and the Coolidge Prize for debating. 

After graduation, Kaltenbom tutored Vincent Astor in 
Europe and aboard the latter’s yacht in the West Indies. 
Then Kaltenbom returned to his Eagle desk. Working for 
the paper did not interfere with his traveling, however. 
Every summer he “shut up shop’’ and set out for new 
points on the globe — Hawaii, Japan, Brazil, Alaska, the 
Philippines. 

Kaltenborn’s radio career began eighteen years ago on 
April 21, 1921. Speaking from Newark, N. J., he addressed 
the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce across the Hudson 
River. Two years later he was being heard regularly on the 
air. In 1928 he joined Columbia’s news staff. 

Unlike most other commentators, Kaltenbom never 
reads from a script. He speaks “ad lib” from scribbled 
notes. This habit stood him in good stead during the 
Czechoslovakian crisis last September. He would go on the 
air to translate a speech by Hitler as it came across 
the ocean from Berlin and shortly afterward return to the 
microphone to analyze what he had said. In addition to 
German, Kaltenbom speaks French and Spanish fluently. 

Kaltenbom credits the simplicity of his home life for the 
energy that enabled him to work such long stretches with- 
out relief during the Czechoslovakian trouble and to carry 
on his many public activities. He is married to the Baroness 
Olga von Nordenflycht, daughter of a German Ambassador 
to Umguay, whom he met on one of his European trips. 

For many years prior to his outstanding performances 
during the Czechoslovakian crisis in 1938, H. V. Kalten- 
born was an international figure of great prominence. But 
the merciless assignment that was given to him during the 
three tempestuous weeks during September, 1938, revealed 
for the first time the incredible resources that are his: 
resources in stamina, temper, in memory, perception, and 
intelligence. During the twenty days and twenty nights of 
perpetual uncertainty he was on the air as often as fourteen 
times within the same twenty-four hours, and the picture 
he presented to the American radio audience and to those 
foreign countries receiving his programs by short wave was. 



124. 



CZECH CRISIS 



short of a general war itself, the most graphically sustained 
adventure radio listeners are ever likely to have. 

Quite frankly, it is impossible to pick out the best of all 
these broadcasts, but I have selected a midafternoon report 
of September 20, 1938, not only for the reading interest it 
affords but for lack of being able to find anything superior 
to it. Mr. Kaltenborn’s opening sentence refers to the read- 
ing of the Czechoslovakian reply to the proposal recom- 
mended by Great Britain and France. The reply reads as 
follows; “The Czechoslovak government has handed to the 
British and French Ministers in Prague a note in which 
the government expresses its point of view with regard to 
the proposal which has been interpreted to it by Great 
Britain and France. This point of view makes further nego- 
tiations possible in the spirit of conciliation which the 
Czechoslovak government has always shown.” Mr. Kal- 
tenbom picked up the broadcast at that point. 



125 



Czech Crisis* 



iJiSLSLSJLSLSLSiSLSLSLaJLSLSLSLSLaJLiiJiSLSi^^ 

Kaltenborn. — That was a highly dramatic conclusion to the 
talk of Maurice Hindus from Prague. It gave the world 
first news of the answer of the Czech government to the 
Franco-British proposals that it siurender Sudetenland to 
Germany. The answer is as I ventirred to predict it woiold 
be when yesterday I said that the Czech government would 
naturally play for time; that it was not hkely to give an 
unequivocal “yes” or “no” in reply to the proposals that 
had been made. As you heard the official communique read: 
“The point of view of the Czech government makes further 
negotiations possible in the spirit of conciliation which the 
Czech government has always shown.” 

In other words, the official communiqud does not reveal 
the text of the answer. And that is quite natural, for when 
governments communicate with one another upon im- 
portant subjects, they do not immediately issue the texts 
of those communications tmless they desire to accomplish 
a propaganda purpose by doing so. Where negotiations are 
to be carried on, in a spirit of amity and conciliation (which 
is the spirit the Czech government desires to emphasize), 
the comm-unications are kept secret imtil they have reached 
the government to which they are addressed. Then both 
governments usually agree upon a simultaneous release. 
But we must remember that since we have not had any 
official statement as to the text of the original proposals — 
only probably 90 per cent accurate guesswork — it is only 
natural that the Czechoslovak government’s official answer 
is not yet released. 

However, we do not know now that it is not an accept- 
ance of the proposal. Nor is it a rejection of the proposals. 
It is the expression of a willingness to discuss what must 
be done to preserve peace, an expression in which the 
Czech government emphasizes its desires for peace, its spirit 
of conciliation, demonstrated by the Czechoslovak govern- 
ment in all the negotiations that have been carried on so far. 

* Copyright, 1938, by Random House, Inc. 

126 



CZECH CRISIS 



Mr. Hindus gave you an extremely interesting account 
of the spirit of the Czechoslovak people, and that spirit, 
remember, is always tremendously important in a demo- 
cratic government, where public opinion controls what a 
government can and must do. 

Last night he pointed out to us that the Czech Govern- 
ment was definitely leaning toward acceptance. But the 
session last night was not final. And this morning the atmos- 
phere and the situation have changed. One important point 
stressed by Mr. Hindus that has not previously been brought 
out in anything that I have seen from Prague is the part 
that the Czech army might play in this situation. 

That army, as he told you, has been trained for 20 years. 
It was generally recognized as one of the most power- 
ful, one of the best-eqmpped, one of the finest-spirited 
armies of all Europe. And that army, on which the Czech 
people at a great sacrifice have expended a billion dollars 
in the two decades in which they have built it up — that 
army representing also the Czech people, for it is an army 
that comes from the people — will not be willing to stir- 
render. That explains the statement that was made to 
Mr. Hindus by one of the Czech observers, that if the 
Cabinet should be unwise enough to make complete accept- 
ance of this proposal, that then there might be a military 
dictatorship in which the army itself would act to create a 
government that would resist the German demands. 

In a few hours the whole temper and the character of the 
situation in Europe have once more changed. Reflect 
for just a moment as to the effect of that change on the 
projected meeting tomorrow of Prime Minister Chamber- 
lain and Adolf Hitler at Godesberg. They will have before 
them a reply from the Czech government that is not direct 
acceptance. It is a reply that will require careful and delicate 
and patient negotiation. Knowing Adolf Hitler as I do, 
knowing his temper, knowing his spirit, knowing the attitude 
that he has shown, again and again, toward international 
problems, I am convinced that he personally cannot and will 
not enter such negotiations. 

The chances are that the Godesberg meeting will be post- 
poned, because certainly the time is not ripe for a final 
showdown between the French representatives and the 
British representatives. 



J27 



BEST BROADCASTS OF 1938-39 



Here is a cable from Berlin. It just came in and it bears 
out what I just told you. It is not often that a commen- 
tator has the good fortune to be confirmed when he has 
only just made his guess. But our Mr. Shirer in Berlin 
has just sent us word at this very moment that the special 
train scheduled to take the correspondents to Godesberg 
tonight will not leave. That is the immediate response from 
Germany to the answer that has come from Czechoslovakia. 
For these things are flashed instantaneously to the capitals 
of the world, and decisions are instantaneously made. So 
what I said a moment ago is true : the negotiations are post- 
poned. We are now confronted by a situation that may 
break out in military action on the Czechoslovakian fron- 
tier any time. 

I read to you a little while ago the headlines from the 
German press this morning. Those headlines show that 
Germany is emphasizing the idea that Czech military forces 
are attacking Germans; that they are conducting raids on 
German soil. Now I must say again that the American 
correspondents who have been at the front in Sudetenland 
again and again and who are there today have found no 
evidence of any such aggression on the part of the Czech 
soldiers. On the contrary, there are two points on which 
all the Americans agree: That aggression has come entirely 
from the Sudetens. Second, that the Czech police and the 
Czech soldiers have acted with remarkable restraint. It is 
well that we should heed this testimony from neutral 
American sources, because our country has been bombarded 
and will continue to be bombarded with propaganda of 
every type and kind. Public opinion in the United States 
should be based on the truth and not on propaganda. 

One more dispatch, yes — the discussion that has been 
taken up by Adolf Hitler with representatives of Poland 
and Hungary. Now that is important, because it is clear 
today that there can be no settlement of the Sudeten prob- 
lem without the corresponding settlement for that part of 
Czechoslovakia which is inhabited by the Poles, the so- 
called Teschen district adjoining Silesia where there are 
100,000 Poles who have not been particularly happy under 
Czech rule. Also, there is that much more important part of 
Czechoslovakia lying contiguous to Hungary, taken from 
Hungary after the World War, and including 700,000 
Himgarians. I am convinced that when we come to a final 

128 



CZECH CRISIS 



settlement of this problem, the Polish minority and the 
Hungarian minority will probably be taken care of on 
exactly the same basis as the German minority — that is, 
unless events get beyond control and war comes. If that 
happens, no one can tell what will come to pass. It is for- 
tunate, though, that we have had this respite. It has given 
the world a chance to catch its second breath, so to speak. 
We were not hurried into an immediate crisis, because in 
France, in Britain, in Czechoslovakia, even in Germany, 
there is perhaps a heartfelt appreciation of what a war 
might mean. That justifies some hope that we may be 
able to continue along the painful path of negotiations 
toward final peace. Good afternoon. 



J2Q 



BEST NEWS COMMENTARY 
(PREPARED) 



The Situation in Europe 

by Raymond Gram Swing 

fl fl g 0 

R aymond Gram Swing is one of the most lucid intelli- 
. gences in radio today. He is thoughtful, observing, and 
vigorous and probably more mature in his perceptions 
than any commentator in the industry. He is never sensa- 
tational, never spectacular, rarely humorous. With every 
justification for being cynical, he has instead converted his 
store of findings into an intellectual library as complete 
and many-sided as can be found in the possession of any 
journalist of our day. 

He began working in Europe as Berlin correspondent for 
the Chicago Daily News in 1913 and covered the World War 
until America broke with Germany. Immediately after the 
war he returned to Germany as foreign correspondent for 
the New York Evening Post and the Philadelphia Public 
Ledger. He served in this capacity for fifteen years. In 1934 
he started broadcasting for the BBC and has been one of 
their commentators — more or less regularly — for the past 
five years. He was heard over the Canadian Network for 
two years, over CBS for one, and has been heard regularly 
over WOR for the past three. He has had an active quarter 
century of news gathering and news reporting; he has been 
on the scene when the thing happened ; he has seen sellouts, 
betrayals, war and the threat of war, treaty rupture and 
territorial rape, treachery, collusion, and repudiation — in 
short, all of the amenities that make up international 
diplomacy as we know it today. But if his philosophy has 
sustained the disillusionment that such an experience would 
explain, it is not apparent in Mr. Swing’s writing nor in his 
thinking. He is balanced, sober, and impartial. 



THE SITUATION IN EUROPE 



He prepares his broadcasts with great care, taking as 
much as five hours in the writing of a fifteen-minute talk. 
All these talks are highly listenable and informative. That 
they never sound labored is explained principally by the 
fact that his thinking never is, either. 

I have selected his broadcast of October 13, 1938, as the 
outstanding performance of the year for the division in 
which he is included. The very assignment he undertook 
was in itself staggering; he endeavored in fifteen minutes 
to clarify the most notorious international mess of the gener- 
ation, and he did it. It is a superior piece of reportorial sum- 
mation, and it is doubtful if there is in radio today any 
other personality who could equal it for clarity, interest, 
and simplicity. 



The Situation in Europe* 



iUL 5 UULOJUUL 5 UUULaJLOJUUL»UL>LOJU^ g 0.g-8_0J)_8_0_0_<La. 

Mr. Raymond Gram Swing. — A month and a half ago I broke 
off my talks on world events to visit Europe. I knew that the 
momentum of crisis was very great, but I did not foresee that 
before I could return to America the crisis should have 
reached its breaking point and that grave decisions of an 
unalterable nature would have been taken. 

Tonight I have a sense of the almost painful limitation of 
the time at my disposal and of my own mind in grasping the 
full measure of what has happened. Very great forces have 
been at work, far greater than the individuals who have 
seemed to shape them. The stage of the drama of Berchtes- 
gaden, Godesberg, and Munich is too vast to be seen at a 
glance. It will be my temptation to simplify and so unin- 
tentionally falsify the story, but you will welcome simplifica- 
tion, because one has to try to understand what has happened 
and how it could have happened. I must confine my accoimt 
of what has taken place to a few of the undeniable facts 
and leave out a great deal that belongs in the story. 

Let us look first at results. Try to think back six months 
ago, when the crisis was first evident. If anyone had told 
you then that by tonight Czechoslovakia was to be deserted 
by its allies, dismembered at their request, that Germany in 
this short time was to be given mastery of Eastern Etirope 
and so of the European continent, that France would 
voluntarily step down from being a first-class power to being 
shut up in Western Europe with only Britain and no further 
allies to secure it, if anyone had said this would happen at 
the point of the gun, in terms of an ultimatum, and would be 
accepted by Britain and France without the firing of a shot, 
you would have thought such a prophet was mad. You 
would have said that to achieve such a result, the statesmen 
of Britain and France would have to show great creative 
power, that they would have to devise a new way to lose a 
war without bloodshed, and, indeed, in this result, would 
have to lose two wars, for they have now lost the World War 

* Reprinted by special permission of Raymond Gram Swing and station 

WOR. Copyright, 1938, by Raymond Gram Swing. 



THE SITUATION IN EUROPE 



and the war that threatened over Hitler’s demand that 
Czechoslovakia should be demobilized as a power factor in 
Eastern Europe. What I am trying to remind you of is that 
this result, six months ago, would have seemed wholly 
incredible. And then I must do my best to explain how this 
incredible thing has happened. 

It would be convenient to be able to explain it all in terms 
of treachery. Well, I believe there has been some treachery, 
but that does not explain it. It would be convenient to 
explain it in terms of a victory for peace; how glad I would be 
if I could for a moment regard the peace that has been 
bought as either lasting or indeed anything but a peace of 
decaying morals and mounting tyranny. It would be con- 
venient to say, simply, that the British and French leaders 
preferred to live under Hitler’s domination than to beat him 
with the aid of Soviet Russia, which is, I think, an element 
in the story. But none of these key phrases is enough to 
explain what happened. I think one must start with the 
examination of air power. 

Now Mr. Chamberlain decided to go to Berchtesgaden, on 
the urging of Premier Daladier of France, on the day that 
the British and French governments were officially informed 
that in event of war Italy would fight on the side of Germany. 
You may doubt whether Italy would in fact have fought. 
But if you had been responsible for the safety of Britain and 
France you would have had to believe it and act accordingly. 
If Italy came in, the British and French air forces in the west 
of Etmope would not have been equal to the air forces 
against them. They might have been sure of beating Ger- 
many in a year or so by military action and blockade. But 
the price would have been the ruin of many British and 
French cities. 

There was doubt, too, about the effectiveness of the Soviet 
air force. I believe the doubt was exaggerated. I am not in a 
position to know. All I say is that the decision to carve up 
Czechoslovakia and make a present of part of it to Germany, 
was due in the first place to a sense that the British and 
French air forces were inadequate to protect their home 
•countries, and that the Soviet air force was not to be relied 
on. If the British and French leaders wanted to avoid the 
disaster of a war in which they were inferior in the air, they 
had to clear their consciences for making Czechoslovakia 
pay the price. And this they did, perhaps more reasonably 
than they have been given credit for doing. 



133 



BEST BROADCASTS OF 1938-39 

At first they were not going in for dismemberment. They 
hoped for a solution in Czechoslovakia which would maintain 
that coimtry’s strategic frontier and give enough rights to 
the Sudeten Germans to satisfy them. But when the crisis 
reached the boiling point, they saw that in the Sudetenland 
the fury had gone too deep for compromise. Agitation, 
provocation, and racial hysteria had been pushed so far 
that it was impossible to appease these Germans. If they 
were kept within the Czech state they would be a permanent 
menace to its security. Furthermore, if war came, the help 
that could be given Czechoslovakia would not have saved 
it from fairly complete ruination. Even if Germany had 
been beaten in the end, there would not be much left of 
Czechoslovakia, and the men at the helm said to themselves, 
Czechoslovakia is ruined in any case, it must be dismembered 
in any case, so why fight a ruinous war about it ? There is a 
risk in war, there is a risk in peace. It is hard to say which 
is greater, but if they are in any way comparable, we must 
choose the risk of peace. That, I think, is a fair presentation 
of the minds which chose the way to Berchtesgaden, Godes- 
berg, and Munich. 

But now let us look at other elements in the story. The 
Czechs were not consulted about their sacrifice. Nor was the 
true military position ever at the disposal of the Anglo- 
French conference where the decisions were made. Here is 
where I think the word “treachery” is not too strong. I was 
in Prague on September 21, the day when the Czechs sub- 
mitted to the Anglo-French program calling for dismember- 
ment. Czechoslovakia was ready to fight. It was ready to 
go through the war, even through ruination, if in the end it 
might live on its democratic life. But Benes on that day 
was told that he must accept the Anglo-French plan and 
that if he did not Britain would not support France in any 
war that ensued, and so France would consider Czechoslo- 
vakia the guilty party and would not fulfill its treaty obliga- 
tions. These were the two threats that were used to club 
down President Benes. 

He could not believe his ears. He could not believe that what 
he was being told was the true desire of the French Cabinet. 
He had reason to suspect Bonnet, the French foreign 
minister, and he did suspect him. He at once told Ossousky, 
the Czech minister in Paris, to go to Daladier and find out 
if what Bonnet was doing was the will of the French Cabinet. 
To get this word to Ossousky he coiild either telephone, in 



^34 



THE SITUATION IN EUROPE 



which case the Germans could hear the conversation, or 
send the message in code by telegraph. He telegraphed. 
Someone in the French post office held up that wire, and 
Ossousky did not receive it in time to go to Daladier. And 
Benes, without being able to make sure that he needed to, 
agreed to the Anglo-French demands. 

Now the fact is that the French Cabinet and the British 
government had neither of them authorized that Benes 
should be threatened as he was. And when the French 
Cabinet was told what Bonnet had done, that he had ex- 
ceeded his instructions, six ministers resigned, including 
Reynaud, Mondel, and Sarraut. And more will be heard of 
this phase of M. Bonnet’s zeal for peace. There is, too, 
another charge against Bonnet. At the Anglo-French con- 
versations in London, where the surrender to Germany was 
decided on, he had to give a report on France’s military 
preparedness. General Gamelin, the French chief of staff, was 
not there to speak for himself. Bonnet spoke of weakness 
in the air, and that he could do truthfully enough. But he 
did not tell the truth about France’s military preparedness. 
He implied that the French army, because of the new Sieg- 
fried line, would be unable to render any useful aid to the 
Czechs. But a few days later, when Gamelin did go to 
London, when the British and French were actually pre- 
paring for war after the Godesberg ultimatum, Gamelin 
astonished the British by saying that the French army 
was at the peak of its power, that the Siegfried line — and 
these are Gamelin’s own words — was “so much marmalade,’’ 
and he could be through it in four days ! 

There is going to be, I am sure, a great debate for many 
years as to who sold out Czechoslovakia and the Western 
democracies to the domination of Hitler. Was it Chamberlain 
and the British pro-Nazis, or was it the French? I happen 
to know that many months ago Chamberlain told American 
correspondents in an interview they were not allowed to use 
that he favored the dismemberment of Czechoslovakia. I 
am sme that he will be called the architect of this peace of 
Munich. But this needs to be said. 

France was the country which had a treaty obligation to 
Czechoslovakia. France was the country whose power in 
Europe depended in part on the survival of Czechoslovakia. 
France did not have to consult Britain about its obligations 
to its Bohemian ally. It needed only to consult its own 
interests and its own conscience. If France had so wished. 



135 



BEST BROADCASTS OF 1938-39 

there need have been no surrender to Hitler, and Mr. Cham- 
berlain, even though he was ready to submit to Hitler, would 
have had to follow the French lead. 

There are many aspects of this peace of Munich which I sho\ild 
like to stress. I want to say with all possible emphasis that 
the people of Britain and France did not demand this peace. 
They were magnificent. God knows they did not want war, 
but they were ready for war after Godesberg, and they knew 
what it was to have been in a war to keep one man from 
dominating Europe. They looked into the coming horrors 
of that war grimly, silently, and unflinchingly. One could 
never have asked more from a nation than the British and 
French gave in those days of the crisis. When they were 
given peace, they rejoiced. Why not ? Will ever any democ- 
racy throw out its rulers and insist on going to war ? I think 
that is impossible. They had been told by their leaders 
they must face war, and they faced it. They were then told 
by their leaders they need not fight, that a peace had been 
made for them that was peace with honor. They believed it. 
But now they are beginning to see that something about it 
all is false and humiliating. They begin to see that they lost 
to Hitler because they were weak in armaments, and yet, in 
losing, they have made Hitler relatively still stronger. 

If they are not to be hiimiliated again, they must redouble 
the effort to build armaments, and yet, if they do that, they 
repudiate the peace that they so desperately want to believe 
in. They will be preparing for a war that in the next crisis 
will not be averted. I cannot begin to tell you the perplexity 
and despair that reign in Paris and London. There vfiU be 
war if Britain and France stand up to Germany. And it will 
be fought at far worse terms than if it had been fought this 
summer. Hitler has free now the divisions he needed to 
overrun Czechoslovakia. In a few months he will have ready 
another army recruited from his Austrian provinces. France 
and Britain have wrecked the Soviet pact, and in another 
crisis they cannot count on the Soviet air force or the vast 
Soviet armies. They have driven Poland, Rumania, Hungary, 
and Yugoslovia into the arms of Germany and Italy. But 
if there is not a war, they are junior partners of Nazi Ger- 
many, putting off the evil day when they themselves will be 
victims of German expansion. It is on a Europe in such a 
dilemma that the peace of Munich has dawned. Good 
evening ! 

136 



BEST NEWS DRAMATIZATION 



The March of Time 

.QQQQQ.POOQQQQOQQQQQQQQQQaQQQgOQQQQQOQg aOOQQgaflOtt 

E stablishing famous “firsts” usually ends in contro- 
versy, and no sensational claim is to be made for the 
March of Time beyond saying that Time's editors were 
among the very earliest of those who realized the oppor- 
tunity radio offered. Time magazine had a popular quiz 
program on the air as early as 1924! It was conducted by 
editor Briton Hadden, and it ran for over two years. The 
exact date of its discontinuance is uncertain. In 1928 Time 
sent throughout the country daily releases called News- 
Casts and, the following year, supplemented these printed 
releases with electrical transcription dramas of five minutes’ 
dirration called NewsActing. The combination of these 
two made a fifteen-minute show, and it was during the 
electrical transcription period (1929) that the name March 
of Time was first used. 

The program in its present form was conceived by Roy 
Larsen* in 1931, and in the eight years it has been heard 
since that time no major change has been made in the struc- 
tural setup of the show. It was almost exactly right from 
the beginning. 

The simplicity and clarity and excitement with which 
these broadcasts meet their American listeners are in con- 
trast to the weekly preparation of the material that makes 
them up. To prepare a single program of the March of 
Time takes 1,000 man-hours of labor, 33 hours for each 
minute of broadcast time; 500 hours for news research, 
writing, and rewriting by Editor William D. Geer and 
his seven assistants; 40 hours of clerical work; 60 hours 
for music rehearsal; 400 for rehearsal of cast and sound 
crew. 

The program has been flattered since its inception by 
attempts at imitation. No organization has ever succeeded 
* Now president of Time, Ine. 



137 



BEST BROADCASTS OF 1938-39 

in doing this, because there is no organization in radio 
today that is equipped to do such meticulous work and at 
the same time to draw on so many sources for the type of 
work that it does. All the news-gathering and news-check- 
ing facilities that are available to Time magazine, to Life, 
and to the March of Time movie are available also to the 
March of Time broadcast. 

The March of Time is a weekly reenactment of memor- 
able scenes from news of the world. Conceived in 1931, the 
March of Time became almost immediately radio’s most 
popular, most-listened-to show, and when the editors of 
Time decided to take the program off the air after its first 
season popular demand compelled the Columbia Broad- 
casting System to keep the show on as a sustaining 
feature. 

It takes an average of 72 people to prepare and produce 
the March of Time each week. Work for this Friday night 
feature starts on the Sunday morning preceding, when the 
editors and writers of the March of Time exercise their 
intuifive news sense and select preliminary news events to 
be converted into acts for the next show. Out of some 
twenty scripts prepared by Tuesday evening, ten or a dozen 
are selected for tryouts in Wednesday’s rehearsal. 

After the regiilar cast and sound crew rehearse a dozen 
sets during their three-hour rehearsal period on Wednesday, 
approximately seven acts survive. These are chosen par- 
ticularly for their news importance but also from the 
production viewpoint of dramatic balance, diversity of con- 
tent, and interest. Humorous spots are often included. 

The regular March of Time actors are adept at imper- 
sonation and can simulate the voices of news figures so 
well that it is frequently difficult for listeners to believe 
they are not actually hearing the voices of these news 
figures. Each actor is particularly adept at about a half 
dozen voices (Stalin, Mussolini, Hitler, etc.). However, the 
regular actors are sometimes supplemented by other actors 
who possess specific talents and who are chosen from an 
available list of from 500 to 700 names. Here may be found 
almost any unusual requirement, from Swedes to Abys- 
sinians. The list includes even the voices of gnomes and 



THE MARCH OF TIME 



elves. Calls for the special voices needed each week are sent 
out on Tuesday night. 

On Thursday, Howard Barlow, director of the March of 
Time musicians, studies the week’s scripts, selects in con- 
ference with the March of Time editor and Messrs. Fickett 
and Spier of B.B.D. & O. (the advertising agency en- 
trusted with the production of the March of Time) some 
music cues to be played during the broadcast. Each of these 
cues is from four to eight seconds long. Frequently original 
music especially adapted to certain acts in the broadcast 
is composed. 

Every member of the cast wholeheartedly cooperates in 
rehearsing every simple phrase dozens of times until per- 
fection is achieved. Thus, the March of Time provides 
vision through sound, and no explanation is necessary to 
identify the Japanese soldier, the apprehensive mother, the 
threatening gangster, etc. Sound effects are rehearsed over 
and over again for perfection. All creaks, wheezes, and 
squeaks must be technically accurate. Once when a Cali- 
fornia doctor revivified a dead dog, the sound crew went 
down onto the street, stopped a few dogs, listened to their 
heartbeats, and then duplicated the technically correct 
sounds. 

Aiding in accuracy is a library of thirty-second recordings 
of over six hundred voices that may possibly be in the news. 
March of Time actors listen to the inflection and accent of 
these persons and are able to reproduce a startling duplica- 
tion of them. If the voice is not in this special library, it 
may be on the sound track of a March of Time cinema reel, 
or March of Time actors can hear it in a newsreel theatre. 

Official checker of March of Time is Harry Levin, upon 
whose shoulders falls the ultimate responsibility for com- 
plete accuracy for every news and historical fact. When the 
word “streptococci” (infectious germs) appeared in a 
medical sketch. Levin was not satisfied with consulting 
dictionaries. Dictionaries gave the final letter the value of 
a long “e,” but a telephone checkup with physicians and 
hospitals indicated that in the profession the word was 
pronounced “ strepto-cock-eye. ” The March of Time used 
the professional pronunciation. 



139 



BEST BROADCASTS OF 1938-39 

The March of Time broadcast, already an established 
institution, has done more than any series in radio to 
bring before the American public accurate information in 
memorable and provocative style. It is preeminently the 
finest news broadcast in the world today. Its dramatic 
handling of last year’s European distress was a vivid 
experience to all those who heard the series. I have selected 
the broadcast of September 16, 1938, as the best of them all. 



140 



The March of Time* 



JiSLSLSLSLSLSiJLSLSULSULJUUiSLSLSULSLSLSLSLSiSiSLSiSLJL^^ 

Music. — Fanfare. 

VAN.f — The March of Time! 

Music. — Second fanfare. 

Van. — Life ! 

Voice. — The Hfe of the world, its conflicts and achievements, its 
news and fun, its leaders and its common people. 

Music. — March. 

Van. — Tonight, hour after hour, by short-wave wireless through 
the ether and along the cables undersea, the news piles up 
from the capitals of Europe . . . world-shaking, momentous 
news that sends Britain’s grave Prime Minister flying to 
Adolf Hitler and President Roosevelt hurrying back to 
Washington . . . the grim, portentous news that Sudeten 
Germans are in armed revolt, and behind every dispatch 
the mounting fear that the field-gray German regiments, 
mobilized and ready, may march into Czechoslovakia. All 
this week, day after day, and every hour of each day, the 
news poured in . . . and tomorrow and all next week news 
will come from London, from Paris, from Prague, from 
Berlin. And as the headlines record each flying fact and 
rumor. United States citizens watch and wait and try to 
understand. 

Voice of Time. — Life, the magazine of pictures, has one single 
and continuing purpose ... to bring the events of our 
times and the people of our world before the eyes of its 
readers with the new impact and understanding that only 
pictures can give. Readers of Life have a keener compre- 
hension of the crisis of this week, for they have seen France’s 
impenetrable Maginot line and the amazing defenses of 
little Czechoslovakia, where lies Europe’s destiny. They 
have gone with Life to look upon the faces of the people of 

* Copyright, 1938, by Time, Inc. 
t Cornelius VanVoorhies, the Voice of Time. 



BEST BROADCASTS OF 1938-39 



Eiirope . . . Poles and Slavs and Czechs and Prussians . . . 
faces proud and humble and fearless and frightened. They 
have eyewitnessed the setting of the stage of the great 
dramatic story that, in the critical weeks and months to 
come, will be found week after week in pictures in the pages 
of Life. 

Van. — Pictures . . . which add a new dimension to our under- 
standing of the life of the world. And now, the March of 
Time! 

Voice of Time. — The second week of September, 1938. 

Van. — The most important week since mid-July of 1914 is draw- 
ing to a close. And the peoples, governments, and armies 
that make the destinies of nations this week again stand 
where stood those of a generation ago, in a week of crisis 
whose events led to a great world war. A week of crisis whose 
full significance was not known until four years later, in 
armistice and in a treaty of peace. 

Van. — “The allied and associated powers, being equally desirous 
that the war in which they were successively involved 
and which originated in the declaration of war by Austria- 
Hungary on July 28, 1914, should be replaced by a firm, 
just, and durable peace, have affixed their seals to this 
treaty, together with those of the German Empire and 
every component state.” 

New Voice. — Article 81. Germany recognizes the complete 
independence of the Czecho-Slovak state, which vdll include 
the autonomous territory of the Ruthenians south of the 
Carpathians and the portion of Silesian territory known 
as the Sudeten area. German nationals habitually resident 
in any of these territories will obtain Czecho-Slovak nation- 
ality ipso facto and lose their German nationality. 

Music. — Up and down. 

Hitler. — The shame of Versailles has only made more impera- 
tive the rise of the German people to fulfill their destiny. 

Van. — In a windowless cell of grim Landburg fortress, an 
emaciated, fanatic-eyed young man is writing a testament in 
fine German script. It is Adolf Hitler, in September, 1923. 

Hitler. — German Austria must return to the mother country. 
But the final path of German empire lies not through Austria 



142 



THE MARCH OF TIME 



to the South nor France on the west but eastward, to Russia 
and the wheat fields of the Ukraine. 

Van. — Between Adolf Hitler and the east lies the Republic of 
Czechoslovakia. {Music up and down) The second week 
of September, 1938, Monday, the twelfth. In Russia, avowed 
objective of Adolf Hitler’s eastward march of empire, in 
Czechoslovakia, number one obstacle in that line of march; 
in France, hereditary foe of Germany, pledged to prevent 
that march; in Great Britain, pledged to fight if France 
fights; in the United States, awestruck spectator of a 
theatre in which one spoken word may set off a war . . . 
the governments and peoples of the world are waiting to 
hear by radio a message of Adolf Hitler, speaking in his 
native tongue to people of his own race and mind. 

Music. — Up and down. Big sieg heils out of music. 

Hitler. — Die Befestigungswerte in Westen werden noch vor 
Beginn des Winters fertig sein. Hinter dieser Front aus 
Stahl und Beton, steht das deutsche Volk in Waffen! {Sieg 
heils) 

Van. — “The fortifications in the West will be finished before 
the beginning of winter. Behind this wall of steel and con- 
crete stand the German people . . . tmder arms.” 

Hitler. — Ich werde unter Keinen umstanden der weiteren 
unterdriickung der deutschen Volksgenossen in der Tschecho- 
slovakei in entloser Rube zuzusehen ! {Sieg heils) 

Van. — “I will tolerate no further oppression of German people 
in Czechoslovakia.” 

Hitler. — Sie werden mir auch am freudigsten zustimmen wenn 
ich vor dem ganzen deutschen Volk feststelle das wir nicht 
verdienten Deutschen zu sein wenn wir nicht bereit waren 
eine solche Haltung einzunehmen, und die daraus volgenden 
Konsequenzen so oder so zu tragen. 

Van. — “I say that we shall not deserve the name of Germans if 
we were not prepared to take this position, ready to bear 
whatever consequences may follow.” {Sieg heils up big into 
singing of “Deutschland uber Alles” . . . carry singing 
under) 

In Nuremberg’s Congress Hall and in every nation of the 
world has climaxed one of the most remarkable pieces of 



143 



BEST BROADCASTS OF 1938-39 



oratory in modem times . . . the September 12 speech of 
Adolf Hitler. {Up to finish with orchestra) Balmoral Castle. 
The Scottish highlands. {Piano register) 

It is evening in the summer residence of the British royal 
family. In the music room, Their Majesties, King George 
and Queen Elizabeth, and Princess Margaret Rose listen to 
Crown Princess Elizabeth at the piano. The King’s equerry. 
Sir Arthur Erskine, enters, steps quietly to His Majesty’s side. 
{All sotto) 

Equerry. — I beg pardon. Your Majesty . . . 

King. — What is it. Sir Arthur ? 

Equerry. — I have very grave news, sire, from Mr. Chamberlain 
. . . regarding Czechoslovakia. Serious disorders have 
broken out as a result of Mr. Hitler’s speech. The Czechs 
invoked martial law in the Sudeten provinces, and the 
Germans demand cancelation of the decree within 6 hours. 

King. — Six hours. 

Queen. — What is it, dear ? 

King. — An ultimatum to Czechoslovakia. 

Equerry. — An ultimatum, yes, sire. Mr. Chamberlain and the 
defense ministers are making our defense plans on a war 
basis. {Pause) 

King. — Six hours. In that case, I had best return to London 
immediately. 

EIquerry. — Yes, Your Majesty. 

Music. 

Van. — By immemorial custom of the unwritten British Constitu- 
tion there can be no mobilization, no declaration of war 
without the signature of Britain’s King. {Music up and 
down) 

Prague, Tuesday . . . the day of the German ultimatum, 
at the barracks of the first Czechoslovakian army corps. 

C.O. — Attention! {Sieg heils) The first army corps is ordered to 
proceed immediately to the northern border for extra- 
ordinary defense duty. Headquarters of the first di\dsion 
will be at Boehmisch-Kermau. The third, fifth, and eighth 



144 



THE MARCH OF TIME 



regiments are assigned to patrol the Sudeten mountains 
westward. Be ready with full military equipment to march 
in one hour ! 

Music. — Up and down. 

Van. — The German ultimatum has 4 hours to run. In Paris, 
capital of Czechoslovakia’s ally, pledged to resist German 
aggression, hour after hour over the Paris radio station . . . 

Voice. — {Filter) Citizens of the French Republic! Attention! 
Municipal authorities have begun the distribution of sand 
throughout the city. Within a short time, heaps of sand 
will be found in every street. Citizens are urged to store the 
sand in the top rooms of their homes for use in sand bags 
and to fight fires started by bombs and shells in the event 
that Paris is bombarded. {Music up and down) Six hours 
have passed. The German ultimatum has expired. In 
Prague’s Gragany castle, in his library, Czechoslovakia’s 
baldish little President, Eduard Benes, sits at his desk, a 
microphone in front of him, a pitcher of water beside him. 
He looks inquiringly at an announcer. 

Announcer. — Ten seconds, Mr. Benes. 

Benes. — All right. 

Announcer. — ^Ladies and gentlemen . . . the President of the 
Republic, Eduard Benes. 

Benes. — My people, I know you are all waiting to know our 
answer to the demands of the German Sudeten party. Their 
ultimatrun would have meant for us to abdicate the sov- 
ereignty of part of our nation and in effect turn it over to 
another state. {Pause) We have rejected it. I speak, not 
as one who orders your destinies but as your elected Presi- 
dent ... of Czechs, Slovaks, Germans, and all other 
nationalities in oux democracy and nation of Czechoslovakia. 
Be calm, be considerate, keep your nerves steady. That is 
all your country requires of you. Then, God willing, your 
government can do what it is pledged to do . . . keep peace, 
not only for this country but for the whole world. 

Music. 

Sound. — Marching feet. 



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Van. — One hour later Czech troops are on the march, for the 
German ultimatum has been rejected. From Prague to 
Cheb, from Pilsen to Vimperk, from Mor to KraUky, Czech 
troops go to man their frontiers. The troops of Czecho- 
slovakia’s ally, France, 6,000,000 strong move up to the 
vast subterranean bulwark, the Maginot line. All through 
the night Belgian soldiers march toward Li6ge and the 
German border. {Music up and down) Wednesday morning, 
in London’s dead-end Downing Street, outside Number 
Ten, official residence of Britain’s Prime Minister, crowds 
linger, watch ambassadors of the world’s powers come and 
go. American Ambassador, Joseph Kennedy, emerges, is 
stopped by a British correspondent. 

Briton. — Mr. Kennedy . . . Mr. Kennedy! 

Sound. — Feet marching off. 

Kennedy. — Say, what is that ... a parade going on there ? 

Briton. — It’s the Scots guards, sir, marching up to their barracks. 

Kennedy. — Oh. 

Briton. — Mr. Kennedy, has the United States declared officially 
on the side of the allies ? 

Kennedy. — Allies ? 

Briton. — I mean to say Britain and France. 

Kennedy. — United States relations with Britain are as friendly 
as ever. 

{Fade in marching and drums) „ 

Briton. — But what about President Roosevelt’s statement that 
the United States was with us ? 

Kennedy. — The President has explained that more fully to me 
personally. {Begin band) In no sense of the word is the United 
States taking sides in the present crisis. 

Briton. — Mr. Kennedy . . . 

Kennedy. — Say . . . that’s “Tipperary” they’re playing, isn’t 
it? 



Briton. — Yes. 

Kennedy. — “Tipperary.” I haven’t heard that in 20 years. 
146 



THE MARCH OF TIME 



Music . — Up and down. 

Van. — I n London, troops marching to the music of a song that 
sent them into battle 20 years ago. In Czechoslovakia, men 
march to a new song of conquest, as, from Sudeten farms 
and villages, Nazis, uniformed and in mufti, join bands 
converging on the towns along the German border, shouting 
the forbidden words of the “Horst Wessel Lied” as they 
march into the still-darkened streets. For it is 8 hours since 
the time limit on the Nazi idtimatum to the Czech govern- 
ment expired. {Music up and down) By noon on Wednesday, 
the quiet villages of the Eber district are a bedlam of wild 
disorder and violence. At Habersparirk, six gendarmes take 
refuge in the police station; and a mob of 50 grows to 1,000 
outside. {Wham) Then, inside the building, the six trapped 
men hear the threatening sound of a timber forcing the 
massive door. {Wham) 

Captain. — Y ou’d better try the phone again. Lieutenant. 

Lieutenant. — Y es, sir. {Click) Hello . . . hello . . . hello. . . . 
{Wham) It’s no use, sir. 

Captain. — T here’s nothing else to do . . . tmless the troops 
arrive . . . {Wham) 

Bartosch. — I could climb up to that window, sir. Speak to them 
through the bars. 

Captain. — T oo late for that. {Wham) 

Bartosch. — T ry it anyway. Here. Give me a hand. 

Lieutenant. — R ight. {Grunt) . . . {wham) 

Bartosch. — A ll right. People of Eger . . . stop. . . . This will 
do you no good. . . . {Wham) You are only harming your 
own cause. . . . You wiU . . . 

Sound . — Shot . . . glass . . . groan . . . Jail. 

Captain. — B artosch ! Are you hurt, Bartosch ? 

Bartosch. — T hrough the chest ... I think so. . . . {Wham) 

Lieutenant. — H ere, tear his shirt. . . . We’ll bandage him up. 

Bartosch. — N o . . . the door . . . watch the door. . . . 
{Wham) 



147 



BEST BROADCASTS OF 1938-39 

Captain. — Better let him lie where he is. . . . He’s out of the 
way here. 

Lieutenant. — I’ll try to stop the bleeding. {Wham) 

Bartosch. — The door . . . the door {Wham). . . . 

Sound. — Door splinters in .. . crowd. 

Captain. — Stop. . . . This man is hurt. . . . This . . . {He is 
drowned out by great mob) 

Music. 

Van. — War begins as a state of mind, is justified by an “inci- 
dent.” The incident may be the murder of an archduke or 
the sinking of a battleship; a quarrel with a customs ofl&cial 
or the hanging of a political zealot. This week six Czech 
policemen are trapped and killed by a mob of Sudeten 
Germans in the town of Eger in Czechoslovakia. Czech 
police retaliate, fire indiscriminately upon every marching 
band of Nazis in the Eger district. And by Wednesday 
afternoon 2,000 Czech government troops are engaged in a 
civil war against 4,000 armed storm troops of the party of 
Adolf Hitler. {Music up and down) 

In Geneva, in the cloakrooms and corridors of the great white 
League of Nations palace, the delegates gather in little knots, 
their faces grave and expectant with the foreboding of Hitler’s 
march to the east. Slowly they file into the vaulted Assembly 
Chambers, still talking in swift, nervous questions; at last 
take their seats. 

Czech. — Monsieur le President. 

President. — The delegate from Czechoslovakia. 

Czech. — Gentlemen of the Assembly, word has just come from 
my coimtry that a civil war is in progress. {Pause) Gentle- 
men, in my country, in the center of Praha, there stands 
a statue of Woodrow Wilson. It was on the faith and 
optimism of that man, coming into a Europe weary and 
half mad from 4 years of war, that the Republic of Czecho- 
slovakia was foimded. Europe today is not half so weary 
nor half so mad as it was in the days when these things were 
inspired. Gentlemen, is there not something left that xmited 
peaceful action can accomplish? {Stir . . . pause) Gentle- 
men, I don’t want to make an appeal to you. I ask a sun- 

74 ^ 



THE MARCH OF TIME 



pie question. {Pause) Very well. That is all, Monsietir le 
President. 

Sweden. — Monsieur le President, there is very little more to be 
done here at this time. I suggest that the League Assembly 
now adjourn. 

Music. 

Van. — In Rome, Benito Mussolini mobilizes 140,000 men, 
begins recalling airplanes from Spain. At Invergorden 
the British fleet weighs anchor, sails out across the North 
Sea to hold maneuvers opposite German Heligoland. It is 
late Wednesday afternoon. {Music up and down) There 
has been no word in 12 hours from Berlin and Adolf Hitler; 
and in Washington, at the United States State Department, 
news hawks have been waiting since morning for an inter- 
view with Cordell Hull, are ushered into the presence of a 
grave and deadly serious Secretary of State. 

Hull. — I’m sorry to have kept you waiting, gentlemen. 

Sound. — Murmurs and ad libs. 

One. — Mr. Secretary, the situation in Europe is so acute, we 
feel it is proper to ask that you explain the attitude of the 
government . . . give the public your appraisal of the 
crisis. 

Hull. — One person can appraise the situation as well as another, 
gentlemen. 

Three. — Is it true that you have discussed the situation with 
President Roosevelt ? 

Hull. — ^Whenever developments require it. I talk with the 
President every day. 

One. — Mr. Secretary, will you tell us how many American 
nationals are in the danger zone ? 

Hull. — Yes, I can tell you that. There are 12,000 in France, 
almost 6,000 in Germany, and more than 5,000 in Czecho- 
slovakia. Altogether, about 23,000. 

Two. — Are any arrangements being made to care for them in 
case of war ? 



149 



BEST BROADCASTS OF 1938-39 



Hull. — Our envoys already have their instructions. They have 
full discretion to deal with any emergency which would 
require evacuation of American nationals. In Prague and 
other posts, there are bombproof shelters, and American 
consular authorities have arranged facilities for our citizens. 

Sound. — Door. 

Aide. — {Coming up) Excuse me, Mr. Secretary. The President is 
calling from Rochester. 

Hull. — You must excuse me, please, gentlemen. {Sound of news 
hawks exiting) Good morning. Good-by. {Phone ojff hook) 
Hello . . . hello, Mr. President. . . . 

Music. — Up and down. 

Van. — From Cordell Hull to Franklin Roosevelt goes word that 
three more Sudeten districts have been placed under martial 
law. Czechoslovakia has called out two more reserve classes 
to the colors . . . 140,000 men. And a few hours later, on the 
observation platform of a train, drawn up in the station 
at Rochester, Minnesota, home of the famed Mayo Clinic, 
stands Franklin Roosevelt, his hands gripping the railing 
in front of him: 

F.D.R. — My friends . . . here I came as a father and not as 
President, and you treated me accordingly. I am going 
away knowing that you still will be pulling for that boy of 
mine. {Pause) I am not going back to my Hudson River 
home now but to Washington. For, as you know, conditions 
of affairs abroad are extremely serious. That is why I go 
back to the national capital, as President. 

Couple of Voices Offstage. — Good-by, Mr. President . . . 
Good-by, Mr. Roosevelt . . . good-by. . . . {Train starts 
chuffing . . . music sneak) Good-by . . . good-by. . . . 

Sound. — Train and music up and down. 

Van. — It is late Wednesday night when the first official com- 
munique is flashed from Germany, and the world learns 
that Adolf Hitler has summoned an emergency meeting of 
his Council for War. In Nazi party headquarters in Munich, 
Chief General von Brauchitz, Reichswehr Chief of Staff 
Keitel, General Reichenau have been conferring with their 
Fuhrer for 3 hours. An aide enters the council chamber. 



150 



THE MARCH OF TIME 



Aide. — A telegram, Fuhrer . . , from London. 

Hitler. — F rom London ? Read it. 

Aide. — (Reading) In view of the increasingly critical situation, I 
propose to come over at once to see you with a view to 
trying to find a peaceful solution. I propose to come across 
by air and am ready to start tomorrow. Please indicate the 
earliest time you can see me and suggest a place of meeting. 
I should be grateful for a very early reply. Signed, Neville 
Chamberlain. (Silence) 

Aide. — (Pause) The English ambassador is waiting, Fuhrer. 

Hitler. — T ell His Excellency that I am very ready to meet with 
his Prime Minister. I suggest that he leave tomorrow morn- 
ing. He will be able to see me at my home in Berchtesgaden 
in the early afternoon. 

Music. 

Sound . — Plane idling under. 

Van. — E arly next morning, at London’s Heston Airdrome, 
out from his car (Crowd murmur under) steps Great Britain’s 
Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain, followed by two aides 
from the Foreign Office; pushes his way through an anxious, 
waiting crowd toward an airplane, ready, its motors idling. 

Sound . — Motors nearer. 

Bobby. — S tand back, please. . . . Stand back there. . . . This 
way, Mr. Chamberlain. . . . 

Cockney. — G ood luck, Mr. Chamberlain. . . . 

Another. — G od bless you, Mr. Chamberlain, sir. . . . 

A Third. — S tand by Czechoslovakia! 

Chamberlain. — A ll ready, Sir Horace? Strang? (Ad lib yes, 
sirs) Hop on in then. . . . 

Radio. — O ne moment, sir. . . . Could you just say a few words, 
Mr. Chamberlain ... to our listeners ? 

Chamberlain. — V ery well. I am going to see the German 
Chancellor because the situation seems to me ... to be 
one in which discussions between him and me may have 
useful consequences. My policy has always been to try to 

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BEST BROADCASTS OF 1938-39 



ensure peace . . . and the Fuhrer’s ready acceptance of 
my suggestion encourages me to hope that my visit to him 
will not be without result. 

Radio. — T hank you, sir . . . thank you. . . . 

Chamberlain. — W ell, Halifax, I’ll keep in touch with you 
through Neville Henderson. . . . 

Halifax. — T he very best of luck, Neville. . . . 

Chamberlain. — I hope so. I sincerely hope so. Good-by . . . 
good-by. . . . 

Sound . — Plane door shuts . . . motor gunning. 

Van. — I t is the first time that a British Prime Minister has 
left his island to confer with the head of a European state 
. . . since the World War. {Plane begins take-off under) 
For Neville Chamberlain, statesman and diplomat, son 
of a family of Britain’s foremost statesmen, is oS to confer 
with a one-time Austrian house painter, is off to Berchtes- 
gaden, where Adolf Hitler conferred with little Kurt von 
Schussnigg, one week before the annexation of Austria. 

Sound . — Plane off and fading. Music . . . rain under . . . 

Van. — A t five o’clock Thursday afternoon, up the winding 
mountain road from Berchtesgaden climbs a black limousine, 
through heavy rains on up to the Wackenfeld, Adolf Hitler’s 
villa. Out steps Neville Chamberlain, his umbrella still 
tight-rolled, is greeted by a bareheaded Reichsfuhrer, his 
hand upraised in the Nazi salute. Three hours later, Ne\dlle 
Chamberlain returns to his hotel, to proceed to London. 
And from the meeting that may determine the future course 
of European history comes just one official comment . . . 
from Britain’s Prime Minister . . . Neville Chamberlain. 

Chamberlain. — Y esterday afternoon I had a long talk with 
Herr Hitler. It was a frank talk, but it was a friendly one. 
Later on, perhaps in a few days, I am going to have another 
talk with Herr Hitler. This time he has told me that it 
is his intention to go halfway to meet me ... in order 
to spare an old man another such long joiuney. 

Van. — O ne statement: noncommittal . . . and cryptic. And 
whether it means collapse of negotiations, plebiscite, or a 
decision to march is known this week to only two men. 



152 



i 



THE MARCH OF TIME 

But well does the world know that Neville Chamberlain 
has cut short his visit by 2 days; that Viscount Runciman, 
England’s neutral negotiator, has left Czechoslovakia 
suddenly and unexpectedly; that in the Sudeten mountains 
9 Sudeten Germans and 20 Czechs lie dead in civil strife. 
Historically neutral Switzerland has mined all frontier 
approaches against invasion, tripled her border guard; 
Rumania has met in council of war to reiterate her alliance 
with France and Britain; in Zagreb, Yugoslavia, mobs 
have stoned the Nazi consulate; Japan has reaffirmed the 
anti-Comintem pact, announced that she will fight beside 
Germany. And this afternoon comes news from Prague: 
that the Czechoslovakian government is moving methodi- 
cally to crush the entire Sudeten German movement, has 
ordered the dissolution of the Sudeten party, disbandment 
of the party’s storm troopers, seizure of their property, 
surrender of all arms and ammunition within 24 hours, 
and the arrest of their leader, Konrad Henlein, for high 
treason, on charges which may well mean for him the 
executioner’s ax. Tonight, at nine forty-five Czechoslova- 
kia’s Foreign Minister Kemil Krofta announces officially 
that his government will not accept dismemberment, will 
not sanction a plebiscite, will resist any efforts to disrupt 
the Republic of Czechoslovakia with any means at its 
command. At week’s end, in London, silent crowds pause to 
watch a single woman, on her knees in prayer at the base 
of the Cenotaph, memorial to Britain’s dead in the World 
War; across the whole island the congregations of the Free 
Churches bow their heads to ask for peace. And by day 
and night, in a never-ending stream, the people of London 
file into Westminister Abbey to kneel and pray; and among 
them Annie Chamberlain, wife of Great Britain’s Prime 
Minister; as this week from the pulpit speaks white-haired 
old Cosmo Gordon Lang, Archbishop of Canterbury, 
primate of all England . . . 

Lang. — Almighty God, Father all-merciful, now in this hour of 
our greatest need look down on us with compassion. Guide 
Thy servant, our Prime Minister, that we may come out 
from the shadow of world sickness. Touch our hearts with 
Thy divine understanding, O Lord, and in Thy infinite 
mercy protect us in Thy grace, through Jesus Christ, our 
Lord. . . . Amen. 

Music Curtain. 



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Van. — What will Hitler do ? His pledged word of support to the 
Germans of Czechoslovakia has been given before the 
world. . . . How will he maintain it ? And what of Neville 
Chamberlain, Britain’s solemn, angular Prime Minister who 
swallowed pride and brushed aside precedent in a dramatic 
eleventh-hom: bid for peace ? Will he go down in history as a 
futile blunderer, or will he emerge as a great and grim figure 
whose dogged courage and British tenacity triumphed over 
the mystic-minded man of destiny who would give Germany 
her place in the sun ? If England and France abandon their 
20-year stand, what new realities must they face ... of 
an insurgent Germany which they seem powerless to turn 
aside except by arms? Can England and France give up 
peacefully what Hitler demands? What decision will come 
to Adolf Hitler in the day or in the night . . . tomorrow 
... no man can tell. 

But one thing is certain . . . that the crisis of this week’s 
news is not the end but the beginning of one of the most 
tempestuous, news-packed eras any age has known! It will 
be an era of fast-moving events greater in the vast sweep 
of their influence than any events in history before them. 
And it will be an era that will be seen as no era has been 
seen before! For week after eventful week. Life’s pages will 
make the 18 million men, women, and children who read 
Life each week eyewitnesses of the news of the world and 
the ways of the world’s people. And, having seen, their 
knowledge of the world will be enriched and their under- 
standing deepened. For they have discovered in Life a new 
kind of pictorial journalism, which satisfies that strangely 
compulsive modem desire to see and to know and to be 
informed. That is why Life is the most potent editorial 
force in America today. And that is why LIFE has the great- 
est readership ever brought together by one magazine. 
Tonight, people throughout the country are reading their 
copies of this week’s new issue of Life, thinking about it, 
talking about it. Your copy is waiting at your nearest news- 
stand. Life’s price is 10 cents. 

Voice. — Again next Friday night at this same hour . . . join 
Life on the air with the March of Time ! This is the National 
Broadcasting Company. 



154 



BEST TALK 



by Jan Masaryk 

\SLSLJLSiSLSULSLSLSLSLSLSLSLSLSiSLSLSLSLSLSU^^ 

T his, the most compelling and the most sincere of state- 
ments ever to be transmitted by radio, was delivered 
at four o’clock on the morning of September 23, 1938, from 
a small studio on the eighth floor of London’s Broadcasting 
House. For sheer bravery, honesty, and simplicity, it is 
not likely to be equaled during the experience of those now 
living. Sanguine, patient, devoid of hysteria and suspicion ; 
resolute in idealism and insistently trusting of the good 
will of neighboring democracies, Jan Masaryk’s talk reached 
millions of American homes at a moment when the meaning 
of democracy suddenly held a vast and unexpected 
significance. 

That Masaryk, the Czechoslovakian Minister to Eng- 
land, was not permitted to know what was happening in the 
surrounding darkness of English diplomacy, is probably the 
most ironical and affecting sentence in his speech. Yet it 
comes forth without rancor, ingenuously parenthesized as a 
necessary phase of a circumstance that is beyond him. But 
this very ingenuousness that characterizes his every phrase 
and paragraph does not bespeak the inexpert politician; 
it reveals unmistakably that rarest of all things in public 
life — the true social integrity. 

His simplification of issues by honest utterance, his 
natural capacity for intimacy without sentimentalism, his 
candor and his optimism — these are the qualities that lift 
his sentences to the pantheon of the great speeches of 
history. 

There are many in America who wept at this innocent, 
impromptu recital; there were many more, anticipating the 
sellout that reached the headlines of the newspapers of 
this nation only nine hours after Masaryk had finished, 
who were impotently ashamed. 

Mr. Masaryk’s talk has been likened by many to the 
great speech delivered at the time of his abdication by the 
present Duke of Windsor. This comparison is in many ways 



155 



BEST BROADCASTS OF 1938-39 

understandable and legitimate. The difference, of course, 
lies in the impulses that prompted them. Edward forsook 
his country for himself, and both his actions and his words 
were caught up in the ephemerality of romanticism. 
Masaryk stood for the principle and the selfless cause; 
what he has said will endure. 



156 



Best Talk* 



ooQ pQQQPQOQooooo oaQQ gaggffiajogQoagflfiaflafljQaaafloo 

Mr. Jan Masaryk. — It is for me quite an unexpected pleasure 
to visualize millions of the citizens of the great American 
democracy listening to me. At the same time it is an unex- 
pected responsibility, believe me. It has been a very long 
day for me. It’s four o’clock in the morning in London, and 
I have not overslept myself lately. 

Today my beloved little country ordered a general mobiliza- 
tion. We have definitely decided to resist aggression, and 
I can tell you that this move was not made without the 
knowledge of France and Great Britain. Quite the contrary. 
In a very few words, the history of the last few weeks and 
days has been about as follows. Lord Runciman came to 
Prague as a mediator. We welcomed him. The Sudeten 
Germans welcomed him and gave him on both sides all the 
facilities to learn the real facts of the situation. Before he 
was quite able to finish his task, Mr. Chamberlain, in a 
definitely honest endeavor to save the peace of the world, 
went to Berchtesgaden to discuss the fate of my country 
with Herr Hitler. The visit of the French statesmen in 
London followed, and my government was suddenly, with- 
out in any way having been consulted, faced with a plan 
which meant, to say the least, a permanent crippling of my 
country. 

After terribly hard and tearful deliberation they accepted 
this plan in full, in toto, as they say in Latin . . . and in full 
confidence that this time France and England will not for- 
sake us. And there the matter stands at the minute. Mr. 
Chamberlain is again visiting Herr Hitler, and at this 
moment he is being handed a memorandum containing 
Mr. Hitler’s considered and final opinion of the Sudeten- 
German question. He will deliver it to us tomorrow. What 
the memorandum contains I have no idea. Just as I have 
no idea what the Anglo-French plan was till 24 hours after 
it had been decided upon. I hope and pray that it will be 

* Copyright, 1938, by the Columbia Broadcasting System, Inc. 

157 



BEST BROADCASTS OF 1938-39 

acceptable to us and that neighborly relations will at 
last be established worthy of such proud peoples as the 
Germans on one side and the Czechoslovaks on the other. 
My people have gone further in self-restraint, discipline, and 
international solidarity in these last few days than anyone 
could have expected, and I am more proud than I ever was 
to be a citizen of Czechoslovakia. We shall study Mr. Hitler’s 
proposal with good will and that same conciliation which 
made us swallow many little pills and bitter pills in the last 
few days. But I solemnly declare that we shall not give in 
on the fundamental issues. 

We believe in democracy, htunanitarianism, freedom of 
religion and speech, and the importance of the individual. 
I personally insist upon reading the Bible and reading the 
poems by Heine. Whether Heine was a Jew or not does not 
interest me in the least. He’s the author of '‘Lorelei,” the 
most beautiful German poem I know. 

And now I want to tell you that my country has not been 
perfect always. We have made mistakes. We are young and 
inexperienced, but we are proud to be a democracy where a 
mistake can be acknowledged and where it can be rectified. 
But please know this . . . and I am speaking in a very 
serious mood tonight. Our German minority was treated 
better than any other in Eiu-ope, and if it would not have 
been for the shocking propaganda from across the border, 
we and our Sudeten Germans, among whom I have hundreds 
of personal friends, would have settled our differences -with 
dignity and without bloodshed. 

My father was buried just a year ago. My united nation is 
assembled around his simple village grave, firmly resolved 
to safeguard the principles he laid dowm for us, and we are 
convinced that truth, decency, freedom, and love will 
triumph in the end. We shall defend it to our last breath. I 
tell you, Americans, our powder is dry. As one who has 
spent many years in America, who knows and loves it, who 
earned his first dollar in New York City when he was nine- 
teen years old; as one whose mother was an American, and 
as a citizen of a small country where St. Stanislaus and 
Jan Huss are our two native heroes and patrons, I greet 
you, brother democrats, and may God give us peace. May 
he replace hatred by love and deliver us from evil. 

Good night to you all. There is one more thought I had in my 
head. I know there are many of my countrymen who are 



BEST TALK 



listening in at the moment, people who perhaps fought in 
the last war to allow Bohemia and Slovakia to be free. Will 
you majority allow me to speak to this minority in their own 
tongue and tell them something ? 

[Mr. Masaryk greeted his fellow compatriots in America in 
the Czechoslovakian language and said, “Truth must 
triumph and will triumph. I salute you, brother democrats.”] 



159 



BEST ROUND TABLE DISCUSSION 
(REHEARSED, AD LIBBED) 



Crisis in Coal 

From The University of Chicago Round Table 

T his excellent weekly program has the distinction to be 
the oldest continuous educational series in the broad- 
casting industry. It delivers fifty-two shows a year and has 
done so uninterruptedly for nine years. Its triangular setup 
and method of operation are unique in educational radio. 
The sense of spontaneity and variety that it brings into 
American homes has popularized it, year by year; it has 
grown from an obscure Sunday afternoon spot heard over 
a single NBC outlet in Chicago to a nationwide influence 
heard over seventy-seven stations of the Blue Network. 

The pattern of the show is simple. Each week three 
University of Chicago professors, in informal discussion, 
talk over the subject selected for the next broadcast. They 
distribute the items among each other, determine how much 
territory they shall cover, and generally, in what order the 
various aspects of the question shall be dealt with. Beyond 
this they have nothing else in their heads except a great 
deal of information. The subjects change each week, and 
so do the professors. 

At the actual moment of broadcast, the participants sit 
down at a three-cornered table (so that they can all face 
each other) and talk extemporaneously for thirty minutes. 
To avert the danger of a long speech by any individual, a 
system of warning lights has been rigged into the table, a 
green flash meaning that the speaker has been going steadily 
for one minute and that it is time to give w’ay to someone 
else. This system keeps the show moving and maintains its 
conversational flavor. 

Every imaginable subject has been discussed by the 
Round Table, and in each case the university radio depart- 

i6o 



CRISIS IN COAL 



ment has brought to the programs the university’s experts 
on the matters discussed. “Can America Live Alone and 
Like It?’’ will be talked over one week, followed by some- 
thing as different as “The President’s ‘Purge’’’ the next. 
All the broadcasts are reprinted by the university and, in 
addition to containing a complete transcript of the pro- 
gram, include suggested readings, an interesting department 
of listener reaction, future schedules, and short “profiles’’ 
of the participants in each show. 

“Crisis in Coal,’’ which is reprinted, is in one way not 
representative of the customary procedure of the Round 
Table, for in this program there were two remote pickups. 
During most of its course, however, the show is close to its 
normal self, and variations are of incidental interest only. 
“Crisis in Coal’’ illustrates not only the essential flexibility 
of the show but something of the enterprise of the organi- 
zation that puts on the series. 

Thursday afternoon. May i8, 1939, the Harlan County 
coal crisis was being headlined in every major American 
newspaper. The governor of Kentucky had ordered out 
troops “to preserve order.” The C. I. O. was pledged to 
resist this “invasion of workers’ rights.” The Federal gov- 
ernment was preparing to intervene “in the interests of 
the people.” Sherman Dryer, the University of Chicago’s 
radio director, sensing the tremendous social implications 
of the Kentucky coal snarl, canceled the scheduled program 
for May 2 1 and by telephone secured both Governor 
Albert B. Chandler and Mr. Lee Pressman, general Coun- 
sel of the C. I. O., for a special program on the Harlan 
County trouble. The governor “welcomed the opportunity 
to state his position.” Mr. Pressman was “happy to give 
the C. I. O. position.” Their remarks (the governor’s from 
Frankfort, Kentucky, and Mr. Pressman’s from Wash- 
ington) were followed by a general discussion in the Round 
Table manner, with the usual trio of professors participat- 
ing. In this program they were Maynard C. Kreuger, 
Professor of Economics; William H. Spencer, Dean of the 
School of Business and Professor of Business Law; and 
Raleigh W. Stone, experienced labor arbitrator and 
Professor of Industrial Relations. The broadcast scooped 

161 



BEST BROADCASTS OF 1938-39 

American radio, which overlooked, that week, one of the 
great stories of 1939. For timely interest and honesty of 
expression and for the clarification of vexed and com- 
plicated issues, it was one of the most successful public dis- 
cussions of the year. It was heard on the afternoon of May 
21, 1939. 



162 



Crisis in Coal* 



SiSiSLSiSLlJLSLSLSLSLSLSLSLSLSLSLSLSLSLSiSLSiSLSLS^^ 

Mr. Lee Pressman. — The contract between the United Mine 
Workers of America and the bituminous coal operators of the 
country expired on April i, 1939. Negotiations between the 
United Mine Workers and the Appalachian coal operators, 
who mine approximately 70 per cent of the coal tonnage of 
the country, commenced in the early part of March. 

The coal miners, prior to the expiration date, offered, on foiu: 
different occasions, to continue work imder the existing 
agreement after April, pending ftuther negotiations on the 
demands that were being presented by both sides. On each 
such occasion the representatives of the coal operators 
refused to accept this proposal. The coal shortage which 
therefore followed was entirely due to the arbitrary and 
tmyielding attitude of the coal operators. 

Propaganda in the press during the lockout attempted to 
make the issue one of a demand by the United Mine Workers 
for a closed shop, an attempted interference with the rights 
of management. The real issue, however, in this struggle 
was the fight undertaken by Bethlehem Steel Corporation, 
Republic Steel Corporation, and utilities in an attempt to 
strike a blow at the United Mine Workers of America and 
the entire C.I.O. Through their economic power of being 
large consumers of coal, they were able to force a deadlock 
between the coal operators and United Mine Workers of 
America. 

The proposal of the United Mine Workers was a request for 
a union shop provision in the contract. The actual language 
proposed, and which was finally accepted, reads as follows : 
“It is agreed that the United Mine Workers of America is 
recognized herein as the exclusive bargaining agency repre- 
senting the employees of the parties of the first part, namely 
the operators. It is agreed that as a condition of employ- 
ment, all employees shall be members of the United Mine 

* Copyright, 1939, by the University of Chicago. 



BEST BROADCASTS OF 1938-39 



Workers of America, except those exempted classifications 
of employment as provided in the contract.” 

It should be carefully noted that this proposal did not in- 
volve any demand for a closed shop. There was no request 
that the coal operators in hiring their employees need do so 
through union hiring halls, or need request the tmion to 
fmnish any employees. The proposal merely required that 
as a condition of employment, the employees shall be mem- 
bers of the United Mine Workers of America. The rights of 
management as to personnel were not infringed in the 
slightest respect. 

Furthermore, under the proposal of the coal miners, several 
classifications of employees, representing supervisory per- 
sons, foremen, and office workers, were completely exempt 
from the provisions of the contract. 

This provision is not a novel one. It is used extensively in 
union contracts throughout the country. For years this 
proposal has been incorporated in collective bargaining 
agreements in the men’s and women’s clothing industries, 
which have probably the most stabiHzed industrial relations. 
The proposal is not unique to the C.I.O. To the contrary it 
is an extremely frequent provision found in the contracts 
of A.F. of L. unions. For instance, in pulp and paper, brew- 
ery, and building trades industries. 

The union shop affords protection to unions against attempts 
of employers to destroy them, through subtle preference to 
nonmembers as against members; but of even greater 
importance, the union shop assures harmonious and peaceful 
industrial relations. 

Under a collective bargaining contract, a union undertakes 
to administer the terms and assme comphance on the part 
of the employees. The union shop permits the union to 
enforce discipline among its members and to compel observ- 
ance of the terms of the contract. A tmion, through collec- 
tive bargaining, obtains benefits for all the employees in a 
particular plant or mine. It is, therefore, only fair that all 
the employees receiving such benefits should be obhgated to 
bear their small proportionate share of the expenses neces- 
sary in the conduct of a \mion. 

The situation in Harlan County deserves specific mention. 
All the bituminous coal-producing areas throughout the 
country, with the exception of bloody Harlan Coimty, have 

164 



CRISIS IN COAL 



executed the 2 -year union shop contract with the United 
Mine Workers. The legality of this union shop provision is 
unquestioned. The National Labor Relations Act specifically 
provides that a collective bargaining agreement between an 
employer and representatives of employees may provide 
that it shall be a condition of employment for the employees 
to be members of the particular union. 

The net results of Chandler’s efforts in sending the National 
Guard to Harlan County, instead of attempting to arrive 
at a peaceful conference, have been that out of 12,000 coal 
miners in Harlan County, 1,200 armed, tin-hat troops have 
succeeded, at the points of bayonets, in driving approximately 
1,400 men back to work. 

General Carter, who is Happy’s puppet, and in charge of the 
National Guard, very succinctly expressed his instructions 
as to shoot to kill. 

The United Mine Workers of America have won a signal 
and outstanding victory, not only against the coal operators 
who attempted to cause a national shutdown and lockout 
but also against the most reactionary and antilabor interests 
of the country, who very foolishly believed they could stop 
the onward march of the United Mine Workers and the 
C.I.O. 

Mr. Albert Chandler. — My fellow countrymen; The people of 
Kentucky and the nation are very gravely concerned over 
the controversy in the coal industry. The dispute has been 
between the coal operators on one side and John L. Lewis 
and the United Mine Workers of America, affiliated wdth 
the C.I.O., on the other side. 

The whole controversy has been occasioned by the demand 
of Lewds and the union for a closed shop and for the elimina- 
tion of the penalty clause which prohibits illegal strikes, both 
of which are aimed at keeping American Federation of 
Labor miners from the mines and both provisions having 
been insisted upon by Lewis and the C.I.O. for the purpose 
of establishing his union as the sole bargaining agency in 
the coal field; and for the additional purpose of requiring 
every miner in America to join his union and pay dues to 
him in order to work. 

In his controversy there has been no dispute between the 
representatives of the mine union and the operators with 
respect to wages, working hours, or working conditions. The 



BEST BROADCASTS OF 1938-39 

controversy, therefore, did not raise an issue in which the 
people of the country were vitally interested, but it did 
raise a selfish demand on the part of Lewis and his associates. 
On May 5, after the disputants had wrangled in New York 
for more than 35 days, the following letter came to the office 
of the governor of Kentucky, from the county judge of 
Harlan County: 

“Conditions in Harlan County in connection with the labor 
situation have gradually grown worse dming the past few 
weeks and have now become serious enough to warrant a 
request for protection from you. I have discussed this situa- 
tion with many of our leading business and professional men 
and it is out combined judgment that the situation is beyond 
the control of the county officials. 

“ It is the consensus of opinion that 75 per cent of om people 
want to work if given protection. Their families are facing 
starvation and they need to work. The coal operators advise 
me that they are ready and expect to start operating their 
mines on Monday or Tuesday of next week, and I feel 
certain that would mean trouble and bloodshed imless we 
have soldiers in sufficient munbers to keep order. 

“I have delayed making this request for protection until it 
seemed to me a last resort, and I sincerely beUeve that the 
time has come when the request is in order.” 

(Signed) Cam Ball, Judge of Harlan Cotmty 
Prior to my inauguration as governor of Kentucky in 1935, 
the union had never been able to organize in Harlan Coimty, 
due to the opposition of the mine operators and many of the 
miners themselves. At my special instance and request, in 
1936 the legislature passed a law which abolished the 
company-paid deputy sheriffs and permitted union organ- 
izers, for the first time, to go into Harlan County, peaceably 
and undertake to organize among the miners. 

I am now, and always have been, for collective bargaining 
and for the right of every worker to join the union of his 
choice. As a public official of Kentucky continuously for 
more than 10 years, there are abundant e\ddences of my 
friendliness to organized labor to be found in that record of 
public service. I believe in the right of every Kentuckian 
and every American to work in order to support his family, 
under conditions acceptable to him and to his employer. 
The position taken by Lewis in this controversy would force 
every coal miner in America to join his union and pay dues to 

j66 



CRISIS IN COAL 



him, or be refused work. The people of Kentucky are not in 
sympathy with this demand, and I do not believe that the 
people of the nation are in sympathy with it. It violates 
the American principle of freedom and the legal rights 
guaranteed to workers under the Federal law known as the 
Wagner Act. 

This act gives to every working man the right to join the 
union of his choice. 

As governor of this commonwealth, I have taken the position 
that any unemployed citizen of Kentucky or any citizen 
of America who needs and wants to work and has an offer 
to work at wages and under conditions acceptable to him 
shall have the right to work, without intimidation, and 
free from molestation from anyone. 

I believe in the right of the union to strike and, during the 
strike, to picket peaceably. Failme of the C.I.O. leadership 
to order peaceful picketing has made it absolutely necessary 
that troops be placed in Harlan County, Kentucky. During 
the last few weeks, miners have been thrown into the river; 
miners and public officials have been beaten and bruised; 
and miners have been baptized in the name of John L. 
Lewis and the C. I. O.; and many workers have been intimi- 
dated by the representatives of the union. This is not peace- 
ful picketing. 

During the last few years, the Federal government has spent 
billions of dollars trying to find jobs for the men and women 
of America who have been without employment, and to 
this good hour, the unemployment problem remains un- 
solved, despite heroic efforts of the government. Many 
of the men and their families in Harlan County were in 
need, and many of them wished to return to work. 

The right to work is, in my opinion, as important as the 
right of collective bargaining. 

The troops were ordered to Harlan County not to break the 
strike of the United Mine Workers of America but to protect 
the right to work of the citizens of this state. There is a 
great deal of difference between using the police power of 
the state to enable men to return to work and using the police 
power of the state to break a strike. I have acted to protect 
the right to work, not to prohibit the right to organize. The 
militia is not in Harlan County for the purpose of forcing men 
to return to work, but the fact that during the last week ap- 
proximately 3,000 men have returned to work in Harlan 

167 



BEST BROADCASTS OF 1938-39 

County in the face of determined and violent opposition 
from the union organization and anything but peaceful 
picketing indicates that a large number of the miners there 
wish to return to their jobs in order to provide for their 
families with the necessities of Hfe. 

Government depends upon the consent of the governed, and 
labor leaders must learn to lead with the consent of their 
followers. The right to bargain collectively must not become 
a club with which the organized may subdue the unorganized 
and prevent them from working. 

We announced in 1937 that the sit-down strike of Lewis and 
the C.I.O. would not be tolerated in Kentucky and thereby 
established protection for the property of the people of our 
state. In 1939 we announce that in Kentucky the funda- 
mental right of every citizen to work when he has a job 
must not be molested by anyone. The troops will remain in 
Harlan County just so long as it is necessary to protect 
the Hves and property of the people of Kentucky. 

I join with my fellow citizens in expressing the earnest hope 
that there may soon come an amicable settlement of this 
controversy. The Commonwealth of Kentucky is responsible 
for the protection of the life, liberty, and property of its 
citizens; and it is prepared to carry out its obligation to 
each one of them. We are saying to the whole covmtry that 
law and order, with the help of God, will continue to prevail 
in the Commonwealth of Kentucky and, I pray, in the 
nation. 

Mr. Raleigh W. Stone. — I should say that when these two 
speeches are stripped of the excessive amount of verbiage 
and the defense language and we get down to fundamentals, 
they both agree as to what the specific issue was that has 
given rise to this difficulty down in Harlan County. 

Mr. William H. Spencer. — That is the controversy over the 
closed shop. Mr. Pressman himself has drawn a rather 
interesting distinction between a closed shop as such and a 
union shop. 

Mr. hlAYNARD C. Krueger. — Whether there is a distinction 
to be made between the closed shop and the union shop 
may depend upon the National Labor Relations Board in 
the future. It is quite apparent that the issue today is 
whether all the miners in Harlan County are going to be 

168 



CRISIS IN COAL 



members of the United Mine Workers Union or whether 
they are not; and it is equally apparent that the forces of 
law and order, so-called, in Kentucky are rather determined 
that they shall not. 

Stone. — It seems to me rather interesting that the C.I.O. is 
not willing to trust the National Labor Relations Board to 
protect the right of workers to join or not join a union as 
they see fit; that here, even though we have had 50 years 
of experience, is the first time that the United Mine Workers 
has raised that issue of a tuiion shop or closed shop, which- 
ever you may call it. 

Spencer. — The governor spoke of the selfish interest of the 
organizers, commenting on the fact that there was no demand 
for wages or other changes in working conditions. Now, 
Justice Holmes once said that a closed shop was justified, 
even though there was no dispute as to wages, as a defensive 
measure for the final skirmish with respect to the funda- 
mental wages and conditions. I could not agree with the 
governor that, after all, a fight for this defensive position of 
the union is a perfectly selfish measure. 

Krueger. — Don’t you think, Spencer, that the demand for 
the union shop in this case, after 50 years of not asking for 
it, as Stone has pointed out, is strictly a defensive measure ? 
I think probably the United Mine Workers and the whole 
C.I.O. realize that they are up against the reaction against 
the organizing drive of recent years. We have seen it in 
legislation in Oregon, Wisconsin, and Minnesota and 
attempted legislation in a number of other places. 

We have seen some A. F. of L. unions willing to step in and 
act as operators’ pawns in situations of that sort. I think 
they have a real problem of defense. 

Spencer. — Well, I agree with you on that, Krueger. It seems 
to me that the position which the American Federation of 
Labor has taken has forced the C.I.O. into this as a defensive 
measure, too. 

Stone. — It does not seem to me that the American Federa- 
tion of Labor, with its Progressive Miners in competition 
with the United Mine Workers, is particularly important. 
I agree with EZrueger that there is a “grass roots’’ move- 
ment, as I caU it, a fundamental change in the attitude on 

i6g 



BEST BROADCASTS OF 1938-39 

the part of the population as a whole, that in part is a 
reversion to individualism and is antitmion; but I think 
that in addition to that . . . and I think that is very impor- 
tant . . . there is a fundamental conflict between the 
interests of the coal operators in the South and the coal 
operators in the North, and I think that came out pretty 
well in connection with their negotiations. 

Spencer. — It seems to me that is the fundamental issue. It 
centers around this demand for a closed shop, and I can see 
that C.I.O. regards it as an important step in protecting 
itself in connection with the actual competitive situation 
between the North and the South. 

Krueger. — Isn’t that why the operators used the Unanim- 
ity Rule in their negotiations with the miner unions ? 

Spencer. — What do you mean by that Unanimity Rule? 

Krueger. — An agreement that none of them would sign until 
all of them did, which meant that the Northern operators 
woiild not sign until the Southern operators did. I take 
it the point at which President Roosevelt had some hand 
in the negotiations was in persuading them to abandon 
the Unanimity Rule and proceed to operate the mines of 
those who were willing to cooperate with the union. 

Stone. — Yes. There was probably no question in the North 
of willingness to sign this agreement. It was an tmobjec- 
tionable form of the closed shop, and they have had it, for 
all practical purposes, in the North anyway. The Unanimity 
Rule was perhaps the only basis on which they could get 
the South in. 

Krueger. — But they have not had it in Harlan County. Despite 
the agreement they have had down there for some months, 
partly as a result of that famous Federal conspiracy trial 
not so long ago, the operators in Harlan County appear 
still to be basically antirmion. 

It is still apparently true that there is no distinction to be 
made between the operators and the courts in Harlan 
Coimty. The letter that was read was from a judge who is a 
stockholder in two of the mines that are now attempting 
to operate under the protection of the governor’s troops. 

Spencer. — Well, I would still come back to the fimdamental 
issue as to why this thing has come about and why Harlan 

170 



CRISIS IN COAL 



County has been the last to sign up. It does seem to reflect, 
first, a traditional attitude in the South which is strongly 
antiunion; and second, a very strong feeling on the part 
of the South that they have to do something to save them- 
selves industrially. 

Stone. — Yes, I should think that would come out in this con- 
nection. Why has Governor Chandler taken quite a dis- 
tinctly opposite position from President Roosevelt in this 
issue? Roosevelt used every bit of his power to force them 
to sign up; Chandler is protecting the right to operate 
under a nonunion agreement. 

Krueger. — Chandler probably thinks he is taking the position 
most popular in Kentucky, and Roosevelt probably thinks 
he is taking the position most popular throughout the 
country . . . and it is quite likely they may both be right. 
I think we will probably agree that the problem of Harlan 
Covmty is not the coal problem in the United States. You 
would not consider that the basic issue in the coal industry ? 

Spencer. — No ... by no means! I consider the basic issue 
in the coal industry that it is, in a sense, a very sick industry. 
It finds itself in competition with all sorts of fuels; the 
employment is diminishing, and the tmion naturally is 
doing all that it can to protect itself against the day when 
it may be up against very serious embarrassments. 

Stone. — And we ought to note, too, that the Southern oper- 
ators have been complaining for the last 3 or 4 years 
that they have had exceedingly great difiiculty in operating 
under present union contracts, that the differential in wages 
which has been narrowed down greatly tmder the present 
iinion agreement puts them at a disadvantage in competition 
with the North. This is not the first time they have protested. 

Krueger. — In the maintenance of that relatively small differen- 
tial the miners’ union has had the support of the Northern 
operators in keeping a little heavier pressure on the Southern 
operators. 

Spencer. — Another factor undoubtedly is the fact that the 
government’s agricultural policy in the South has driven 
a lot of agricultural workers into the mining industry, which 
has further weakened the ranks of organized miners and 
has also tended, of course, to reduce the wages. 



BEST BROADCASTS OF 1938-39 



Stone. — I think that is a very important matter, from a na- 
tional standpoint as well as from the standpoint of the South. 
The coal industry is one of the industries that has some 
considerable possibility of developing into a wider field 
of employment in the South, on the condition that it be 
given wage rates that are fair and reasonable as compared 
to wage rates in the South and on condition that it be 
given fair consideration with respect to freight rates. But 
the industry cannot proceed under present conditions, and 
we have had that kind of complaint for the last several 
years. 

Krueger. — It is true that the South needs a field of employment, 
but it is also true that the Northern miners need more 
employment. Now, are you going to get the kind of flexibility 
that you need in order to permit a Southern mine industry 
to grow? Are you going to get it without being able to 
guarantee the Northern miners some kind of equivalence 
of employment ? I am inclined to think that you are either 
going to have less control in the coal industry than we now 
have, or you are going to have more control and a different 
kind of control, perhaps in the nature of socialization, in 
the long run. 

Spencer. — When you speak of socialization in the coal industry, 
what, specifically, do you have in mind ? 

Krueger. — I mean some type of centralized control that makes 
it possible to permit the development of an industry in the 
South where they do need it and that also makes it possible 
to protect the interests of the people in the North, who would 
otherwise be opposed to it. 

Stone. — What you really mean is a government board that 
has the power to decide who can mine coal and who cannot 
mine coal; where it will be mined, and where it will not be 
mined; how much will be mined, as well as the price that 
will be charged for it. 

Krueger. — It would mean a complete rationalization of the 
whole coal industry, which I think is probably the only 
alternative to the open shop conditions which the miners 
are trying to fight. 

Spencer. — In other words, you think this is a sick industry 
and in the competitive situation in which it finds itself you 



172 



CRISIS IN COAL 



either are going to open it up wide again or you are going to 
nationalize it and let the government ration out coal as it is 
needed. 

Stone. — I, of course, am frmdamentally opposed to any program 
of rationalization and regimentation, and I tWiik it is 
entirely imnecessary. What we have been doing is fooling 
arotmd with this industiy with all kinds of half measures of 
control. I think we need just a little bit more freedom and 
flexibility of prices and wages. 



^73 



BEST PUBLIC DISCUSSION 
(IMPROMPTU) 



What Caused the Depression? 



QOQOflflaafl_aflfiflflflflflaaaflflOflaOOflOQOOQOQQQQOQOQQOOQQ - 
HIS BROADCAST Series, now in its second year of per- 



formance, is unique among network discussion pro- 
grams. It is not only the only broadcast that is completely 
unrehearsed and ad libbed but the only one thus far in edu- 
cational radio in which the participants do not know when 
they go on the air. This last feature brings to the broadcast 
great spontaneity of thought and expression. 

Subjects for discussion are determined five or six weeks 
in advance of each show, and suitable representatives are 
chosen and invited to the executive dining room at Colum- 
bia’s Madison Avenue studios in New York. It is over the 
dinner table that these radio conversations actually occur — 
usually toward the end of the meal. Much of the dinner 
hour has that same atmosphere of unself-conscious talk 
and conversational pleasantry that marks the successful 
dinner party in any social get-together. The guest speakers, 
usually four in number, have opportunity to get acquainted 
with each other and with their host, Mr. Lyman Bryson; 
and Mr. Bryson has opportunity to study the characteris- 
tics of attitude, responsiveness, and contributive value of 
those over whom he presides. 

As the moment for the air show nears, Mr. Bryson, by 
taking the conversational direction momentarily into his 
own hands, quietly relinquishes his duties as host and 
symposiarch for those of moderator. The microphone 
that is to pick up the program is concealed in the floral 
centerpiece on the table. The announcer who introduces 
the broadcast to the radio audience is out of sight and hear- 
ing of those who are about to speak — or, rather who are 
already speaking. 



From The People’s Platform 




174 



WHAT CAUSED THE DEPRESSION? 



To steal in upon the after-dinner talk in this way gives 
the radio audience a pleasurable feeling of eavesdropping. 
As the program continues, however, as the issues them- 
selves begin to precipitate out of the vessel of general talk, 
as the speakers take sides, and as their answers and opinions 
and challenges grow sharper, the initial audience reaction 
of eavesdropping gives way to one of personal participation, 
and it is to this quality of sustained give-and-take that the 
series owes its success and its increasing audience. 

None but the readiest and most versatile of platform men 
can handle such broadcast assignments. His responsibilities 
are vast and various; he must remember everything 
significant that has been said and remember who said it; 
he must rephrase and simplify all points not likely to be 
immediately clear to the audience; he must keep the dis- 
cussion from wandering; he must see to it that no one 
violates the laws of good conversation by making long 
speeches; he must give each participant equal opportunity 
to be heard; and he must, through his manipulation of 
attack and counterattack, give to the broadcast an animus 
of its own and at the same time control this animus so that 
it never leaks over into open animosity. In a broadcast with 
the declared purpose of the People’s Platform there is 
much room for high feeling. There is none for bad 
feeling. 

Like all good broadcasts, this one is a combination of 
many elements, the merging and resolving of many ideas, 
the work of many people. Even with all factors working 
properly, it would still fail if the moderator failed. In the 
appointment of Lyman Bryson to this spot, Columbia’s 
Department of Education has brought to radio one of the 
most resourceful and one of the most gracious presiding 
officers in contemporary broadcasting. He is not new to the 
industry, and he is widely known to educators. As Professor 
of Adult Education at Teachers College, Columbia Uni- 
versity, as a lecturer to many thousands of audiences for 
more than twenty years, Mr. Bryson is a prudent selection 
for handling public discussion on the air and quite probably 
the perfect choice for proceedings that are entirely 
impromptu. 






BEST BROADCASTS OF 1938-39 

For the production and coordination of the series Colum- 
bia went far afield to find the right man and finally did so 
in securing the services of Leon Levine. For three years 
Mr. Levine had served in a similar capacity for America’s 
Town Meeting, and he is known throughout the industry 
as the best authority on technique and policy of public 
discussions on the air. He is assistant to Sterling Fisher in 
Columbia’s Division of Education. 

Out of the fifty programs thus far produced the broad- 
cast of July 27, 1938, has been chosen as the most successftil 
and most revealing of this type. For clarity, movement, 
variety of point of view, timeliness, hiunanness, and 
defensibility of argument; for choice of subject, response, 
and informativeness, “What Caused the Depression?’’ 
is noteworthy among radio colloquies of the past 12 
months. The four who participated in the broadcast 
here reprinted were : Spencer Miller, director of the Worker’s 
Education Bureau of America; George E. Sokolsky, author, 
journalist, and labor consultant for many industries; 
Timothy O’Rourke, a carpenter; and Miss Evelyn Brenner, 
an unemployed schoolteacher. 



The People’s Platform* 



OQOOOOOQQQQQOPQQgO gfl flPOPOgQQQQQCa atLO-fl-fi-g-g-flJLgJLa-ft. 

Mr. Lyman Bryson. — But we’re not only dealing with machine 
tenders. We’re dealing also with machine makers. A vast 
munber of people now are the machine tenders. But the 
sort of man who in the old days might have been a carpenter 
or a copper worker or something of that sort . . . you meet 
that type of man today in the making of machines and in 
the making of dies, all of which involve a great deal of 
manipulative skill, a great deal of hand work, and a great 
deal of what might be called “technical thinking.’’ But the 
skilled worker can’t exist in large numbers, I suppose. 
Certainly the general attitudes of workers have been changed 
by a number of social trends, by shifts in the kinds of 
occupations and by differences in training periods. That has 
complicated the labor problem a good deal. But suppose we 
take unemployed labor for a little while as a social problem. 
That is, we have a certain number of people out of work. 
. . . We’re responsible as a nation for the welfare of those 
people. 

Last week when we were talking around this dinner table, 
we were discussing the question of whether or not we had 
got into an era of prosperity; whether we were on the up 
curve in the business cycle, and we had just about got to a 
point of trying to decide whether or not the government had 
any real part to play in that business. I’m wondering if 
in this question of labor we couldn’t take a look at the 
government’s responsibility. . . . What about the govern- 
ment’s relation to labor? Does the government have at the 
present time what you consider a proper policy toward 
labor, Mr. Sokolsky? 

Mr. George Sokolsky. — No, not at all. 

Bryson. — Why not ? 

Sokolsky. — Because you’ve got to consider, principally, the 
question of who is going to control the means of production. 

* Copyright, 1938, by the Columbia Broadcasting System, Inc. 

177 



BEST BROADCASTS OP 1938-39 

If the means of production and distribution are to be con- 
trolled by private enterprise, then the government’s program 
should be oriented toward cooperating with private enter- 
prise, so that private enterprise can absorb labor, so that 
private enterprise can create new commodities; so that 
private enterprise can expand and in that way re-employ 
those who are unemployed . . . even create new jobs, as 
private enterprise has created 18 new industries in this 
country since 1900. 

Bryson. — The difficulty is that the government’s present policy, 
in yotir opinion, is slowing up that creation of new jobs ? 

SoKOLSKY. — The present policy of the government is to frighten 
industry, to smear industry, to attack industry, to make it 
impossible for an industrialist to conduct his plant and to 
prevent him from expanding his production. That is the 
principal reason for the new depression. There would never 
have been a Roosevelt depression after the wonderful 
progress of his re-employment last srunmer had it not been 
for the attacks on industry by the Labor Board and by the 
speeches of I ekes and Jackson and Wallace and all the 
others. It became a political question . . . frightened 
industry . . . and industry stopped functioning. 

Bryson. — Mr. O’Rourke, you’re a carpenter, aren’t you? 

Mr. Timothy O’Rourke. — I am, sir. 

Bryson. — How does this look from the standpoint of a man who 
is an active union member and who has made his way by 
skill all his life? Do you think that the government is 
handling the labor problem well ? 

O’Rourke. — I think the government is doing wonderfully today. 
And but for the way the government has taken over the 
labor situation in the country, we’d have had civil war 4 or 
5 years ago. We were on the edge of civil war when the first 
depression was knocked in the head. 

Bryson. — But, you see, Mr. Sokolsky says that the first move- 
ment may have been all right, but after a certain amount of 
restoration of business there was a mistaken attitude toward 
business that slowed things up again. 

O’Rourke. — No ... I don’t agree to that at all, because the 
work was carried on perfectly and was going along fine. The 



THE PEOPLE'S PLATFORM 



government certainly did not step in at the start. It stepped 
in when present industry come to a standstill. That was 
the trouble in the labor field. But for the government, as I 
said before, we’d have had a civil war in 1933. 

Bryson. — And you think that it’s not because the government 
interfered but because industry fell down on its job ? 

O’Rourke. — That’s it exactly . . . and ruined standards today. 

Bryson. — I’d like to know what you think about that, Mr. Miller. 
You look at this work question from a slightly different 
point of view. 

Mr. Spencer Miller. — I suppose that the problem we have to 
consider when we think of the relationship of government to 
labor is, in the first place, what is the present predicament 
that labor finds itself in in this country. As I see it, the 
problem which the labor community experienced and the 
condition which they now face is the problem of how 
they’re going to provide, or find, some kind of continuity of 
employment. 

Bryson. — It’s not high wages? 

Miller. — Not primarily high wages, although high wages are 
very important. Continuity of employment is an indispens- 
able necessity for the maintenance of any living standards 
which we frequently describe as the American standard of 
life. We have come to a situation in which, under our present 
system of control and direction, we’re not getting either the 
substance of high wages or the continuity of employment. 
And the reason for governmental intervention, as I see it, 
into the whole economic process, was to assure some greater 
measure of continuity of employment than had existed 
formerly. The government, in my judgment, has, in their 
zeal to repair the lack of balance . . . they have on a num- 
ber of occasions gone farther than was necessary, and, in the 
perspective of time, I think we are going to say that their 
extension into the economic situation was excessive. But I 
think it represents an eagerness on the part of those charged 
with the responsibility of the administration of government 
to assure a larger meastue of continuity of employment 
than had been possible over the past years and to make the 
government, for the first time, a partner in this whole 
economic enterprise. 



179 



BEST BROADCASTS OF 1938-39 

Bryson. — D o you mean a partner in raising the general level of 
consuming power on the part of the people or a partner in 
the sense that they were going into business on their own ? 

Miller. — They tried at the outset, through the NRA, to raise 
wages. They attempted a process of . . . 

Bryson. — They succeeded for a while, didn’t they ? 

Miller. — Yes, they succeeded for a while. It proved to be a 
notable experiment. It broke down, as everybody now 
realizes, because of maladministration. It broke down, in 
my judgment, and I think in the judgment of most com- 
petent students, long before the Supreme Court declared it 
unconstitutional. 

Bryson. — Could it have worked ? 

Miller. — I think it could have worked for one year. 

Bryson. — Because it was an emergency measure? 

Miller. — Yes, and it caught the public temper. It brought 
out the kind of response that people make in a great emer- 
gency of war or peace. But, as I said at the time and I’ve 
frequently said since then, the genius of that whole concept 
was that it rallied the American people together and gave 
them a sense of unity of purpose and action. 

Bryson. — And that’s something that only the government can 
do ? 

Miller. — Only the government can do. 

Bryson. — Miss Brenner, do you consider yourself tmemployed ? 

Miss Evelyn Brenner. — I do. 

Bryson. — You’re young. You’ve got your life ahead of you. 
What do you think about having the government do some- 
thing for the unemployed ? 

Brenner. — WeU, I feel that they should do aU that they 
have done and do a great deal more. I agree with Mr. 
O’Rourke. I think that the government has stepped in 
at a time when it was necessary for them to step in. I believe 
that they will do more to restore the so-called confidence on 
the part of business by creating the buying power which is 
necessary for business to go on, because there is no real sense 

180 



THE PEOPLE’S PLATFORM 



in producing if the people of America cannot buy back what 
they have produced. And I believe that only through in- 
creased government spending, increase of the buying power 
of a great mass of the American people, can we put back this 
wealth into more production and so finally give business a 
chance to go further and to re-employ all of these people 
who are now unemployed or partially employed. 

Bryson. — Well, if you’ve got a shortage of about 40 billion 
dollars in national income and the government spends 
5 billion^ dollars out of that in taxes, which in a way reduces 
the buying power of the taxpayer, because instead of 
buying. . . . 

SoKOLSKY. — Miss Brenner, you’re paying taxes too . . . but we 
can ignore that phase of it. How are you going to create the 
other 35 billion dollars that is necessary to bring national 
income up to the figure that it was in 1929 ? 

Brenner. — Do I tmderstand you, Mr. Sokolsky, to mean that 
you’re worried about where the taxes are going to come from ? 

Sokolsky. — No, No! National income produced ... in 1929 
was about 90 billion dollars. We’re down today to about 
50 billion, roughly . . . maybe a little more . . . 51, 52. 
We need 40 billion dollars more of national income to 
have the kind of prosperity which we had in 1929 and which, 
I, personally, regard as insufficient for the United States. 
How do we get that 90 billion dollars of national income 
produced when we only have 50 and the government spends 
5 billion dollars? You indicated that spending 5 billion 
dollars was going to do something. 

Bryson. — Perhaps Miss Brenner means . . . that the govern- 
ment ought to spend still more. 

Sokolsky. — You’d have them spend the whole 40 billion dollars ? 

Brenner. — Well, I’d have them spend enough to be able to put 
back as many people to work as is humanly possible, those 
who are not being put to work by business. 

Sokolsky. — That would be 40 billion dollars. . . . Where do 
we get it ? 

Brenner. — Well, they certainly cannot tax the little man, who 
hasn’t very much right now. ... I would suggest taxing 
the people who have it. 



181 



BEST BROADCASTS OF 1938-39 

SoKOLSKY. — Suppose we took away . . . not in taxes . . . sup- 
pose we had a capital levy . . . and took away from those 
who have, let us say, over a million dollars ... all that 
they have . . . how would that solve the problem ? 

Brenner. — Y ou mean just take a man’s money and give it to 
somebody else ? 

SoKOLSKY. — No! Use it as the 5 billion is being used ... to 
subsidize an election, or something. 

Brenner. — A ll wealth isn’t money that we can count in our 
pockets. And I certainly believe there is still a great deal 
to be done in the United States which we could consider as 
wealth for the country. There are a great many roads to 
be built and a great many houses to be built and many 
bridges and schools and other things. We’ll have to get the 
businessmen of this country who have sufficient money 
and who have been holding back on us to put up the money. 

. . . That’s all there is to it. 

Bryson. — T he difficulty between you may be something like 
this: You believe, Mr. Sokolsky, that if the businessman 
spent his money to expand his business, to increase his 
productive power, he would be paying it to the very same 
people that the government is now paying it to. . . . 

Sokolsky. — R ight ! 

Bryson. — A nd he would be paying it out in production business, ■ 
and you think that would increase our total income. 

Sokolsky. — R ight! And that might bring our total income up 
to 100 billion dollars. 

Bryson. — Y ou see, it’s Miss Brenner’s opinion, and it’s Mr. 
O’Rourke’s opinion . . . Mr. Miller isn’t committing him- 
self on this yet . . . that the businessmen had a chance to do 
that but failed. What did you mean by that Mr. O’Roiirke? 
Let’s go back. 

O’Rourke. — W e’ll go back. . . . You spoke about 1929. You 
claim that we had boom days in 1929. Where did the boom 
come from? 

Bryson. — T hat’s a fair question. . . , Where did the boom 
come from? 

182 



THE PEOPLE'S PLATFORM 



Brenner. — From the purchasing power of the American people. 

O’Rourke. — Well, who is the purchasing power? Isn’t it the 
working people ? 

SOKOLSKY. — Farmers, laborers, wage earners, and teachers and 
middle class people. The worker isn’t the only ptirchasing 
power in the United States. 

O’Rourke. — He has to have work to get money to purchase, I 
believe. 

SoKOLSKY. — He was one element in the total population, yes, 
and he had to have money. 

O’Rourke. — And he was in the majority. 

SoKOLSKY. — No, he wasn’t. Never in American history. You 
haven’t got your statistics right. 

O’Rourke. — The unemployed in the few years after the depres- 
sion were the majority, weren’t they ? 

SoKOLSKY. — No, sir. Never in the history of the United States 
were the unemployed the majority. We had 40 million wage 
earners in the depth of the depression in 1931, and we had 
12 million unemployed out of 130 million people. Twelve 
million unemployed was never the majority of 130 million 
people. 

O’Rourke. — How many capitalists were in that total? 

SoKOLSKY. — I don’t know what you call a capitalist. 

O’Rourke. — The man that employs labor ... at low wages. 

SoKOLSKY. — How about the man who employs them at high 
wages ? Is he a capitalist ? 

O’Rourke. — The capitalist is the man that makes the money. 

SoKOLSKY. — Isn’t everybody more or less a capitalist in the 
United States? Don’t you own capital? Do you own an 
automobile ? 

O’Rourke. — No. 

SoKOLSKY. — Do you own an electrical refrigerator ? 

O’Rourke. — I’m thankful I do. 



BEST BROADCASTS OF 1938-39 

SoKOLSKY. — Then you’re a capitalist ! 

O’Rourke. — Oh, but it belongs to the landlord. 

Bryson. — I don’t believe we’ll get anywhere discussing what a 
capitalist is. Nobody will admit that he is one. 

SoKOLSKY. — I do. I’m not only a capitalist, I’m an advocate of 
capitalism. I fight for it. 

O’Rourke. — I should think you ought to ... a man that holds 
down 10 jobs ... I wouldn’t be here at all if I had two 
jobs. 

Bryson. — The point of our discussion is . . . 

O’Rourke. — The question is, what happened from 1929 to 1932 ? 

Bryson. — Well, what did happen ? Were you going to say some- 
thing on that, Mr. Miller ? 

Miller. — I was merely going to make this observation. It 
seems to me that the point of our discussion amounts 
substantially to this; that you can’t distribute wealth unless 
you create it; that functionally and essentially the job of 
government is not to create wealth as private industry does. 
But the government does distribute wealth. 

Bryson. — But somebody else has to make it ? 

Miller. — Yes. The government has an opportunity to be an 
instrumentality in the modem scene for equalizing the access 
of people to the sotuces of wealth of the country. Now, the 
thing which people are asking themselves and this is a proper 
question that everybody ought to be asking . . . if we’re 
going to build up an economy of abundance in this country, 
are we going to do the thing under the direction of govern- 
ment or are we going to do it imder the direction of private 
enterprise ? 

Bryson. — Wait a minute, Mr. Miller. When you say, “Are we 
going to do it under the direction of government?” do you 
mean, are we going to put the production of wealth under 
the control of the government directly? Is that what you 
mean? 

Miller. — Yes, that’s the sum and substance of it. But the 
American way, I think, is to assume that it is the job of 
industry not only to produce wealth but to produce jobs. 

184 



THE PEOPLE'S PLATFORM 



And increasingly as we insist that it is the job of industry 
to produce employment we insist also that it is the part of 
the task of government to assist industry in providing 
employment for people who are in need. Then we have 
related those agencies in a more healthy and organic way 
than they are at the present time. 

Bryson. — That is a point we could probably all agree on. I 
don’t know about you, Miss Brenner. Do you agree ? 

Brenner. — Well, I would say . . . you see, I feel that industry 
has fallen down. I believe that industry has had its chance 
to provide jobs. And I believe until the time comes when 
industry can be forced . . . and I believe it will be necessary 
to force industry to do this ... I believe it will be the 
job of the United States government, which not only 
represents industry but represents the working man and the 
middle class and the doctor and the lawyer and the school- 
teacher, too, to provide means of existence at the so-called 
American standard of living. 

SoKOLSKY. — That’s something else again. 

Bryson. — When you say that the business of government is to 
provide a living at a reasonable American standard, do 
you mean that this should be done because it is. a social 
duty of the government to the people, or do you mean that 
such action in itself would be the means by which govern- 
ment would assist business to create jobs ? 

Brenner. — I think it’s both. I think that the government has 
a social responsibility. 

Bryson. — We are questioning that. But it’s a question of 
whether or not . . . well, now, let’s, for instance, take 
the WPA. The WPA is a work project, isn’t it? “W” 
means “work.” Do you think. Miss Brenner, that the WPA 
serves its purpose by providing people who otherwise would 
have no means of living at all with at least a minimum? 
Or is it this thing that Mr. Miller is talking about . . . the 
instrument by which the government is going to assist 
business to get back to normal production growth ? 

Brenner. — I think it’s both. 

Bryson. — Both ? 



BEST BROADCASTS OF 1938-39 

Brenner. — I do. 

Bryson. — How does it help business ? 

Brenner. — By creating a purchasing power without which . . . 

Bryson. — Do you want to use the word “create”? It doesn’t 
create, does it ? 

Brenner. — No, it just puts it in the right hand. 

Bryson. — It puts it there. The theory would be that it stimulates 
purchasing power. 

SoKOLSKY. — But couldn’t we just for a moment go back to what 
Mr. Miller said? I think it’s very important. 

Bryson. — What was that, Mr. Sokolsky? 

SoKOLSKY. — We’ve got a conflict between two essential theories 
of government and economics. Shall production and dis- 
tribution of goods and services be controlled, managed, 
owned by government? Or shall production of goods and 
services be owned by private enterprise but regulated by 
government ? 

Bryson. — Now, do you think, Mr. Sokol . . . 

Sokolsky. — I would suggest . . . no, no, go ahead. . . . 

Bryson. — I just wanted to interrupt you with this question. 
Do you think the WPA is intervention in business by the 
government ? 

Sokolsky. — It’s a confusing factor. 

Bryson. — How ? 

Sokolsky. — From the standpoint of industry. It creates stand- 
ards and also peaks of employment, and it creates vested 
interests in continued unemployment which make it very 
difficult for big industry to adjust to conditions. 

Bryson. — Suppose we consider the government’s action in 
various types of legislation, Hke the National Labor Rela- 
tions Board and the Wages and Hours Bill, and so on. Are 
they an attempt on the part of the government to control 
business ? 

Sokolsky. — Oh, yes. 

186 



THE PEOPLE'S PLATFORM 



Bryson. — What do you think about that, Mr. O’Rourke ? 

O’Rourke. — I don’t agree with Mr. Sokolsky on that at all. 

Bryson. — Well, let’s define control and regulation. 

Sokolsky. — All right. I’ll say what I mean by control and let 
Mr. O’Rourke say what he means by control. Let me define 
regulation first. Regulation means that the government 
passes laws, of any kind; laws against murder, laws against 
theft, laws against anything; but they pass laws, and if you 
disobey the law and you’re guilty, you’re punished. That’s 
regulation and was the system in which we functioned 
here for a long time. Control is altogether different. Control 
. . . the government sets up standards in advance and 
determines in advance what cannot be done and prevents 
anyone from taking free action in any direction at his own 
risk. When you have control, you naturally tend in the 
direction of the type of Fascism which exists in Germany 
and Italy. When there is regulation you don’t go in that 
direction. The industrialists’ objection to control is that it 
so binds him that he cannot use his own initiative at all. 

Bryson. — Control is not simply a question of more regulation, 
then ? They’re actually different ? 

Sokolsky. — They’re different methods. 

Bryson. — What do you think about that, Mr. O’Rourke? Is 
the government trying to control industry ? 

O’Rourke. — As far as I see it, private industry, as Miss Brenner 
has said, has had its chance before the WPA was ever 
established or the NRA was ever introduced. They had 
the chance to go out and do this work for the government 
and distribute the work. They fell down on the job. Industry 
was at a standstill for 3 years. Everybody knows that. The 
government had so many men and women on their relief 
rolls they had to do something. Then the NRA, the WPA, 
and the PWA followed up. That’s why men are working 
today . . . not through private industry. 

Sokolsky. — Then why are there 12 million unemployed? 

O’Rourke. — If private industry wanted to help this work, they 
have all the opportunities in their power to go to the govern- 
ment and figure the government work and do it the same 
as the government is doing it just now. 



BEST BROADCASTS OF 1938-39 

SoKOLSKY. — Here’s the point: First of all, the amount of govern- 
ment work in the total of our national industry is trivial. 
Secondly, we still have 12 million unemployed . . . after 
9 years. Would you say 12 million, Mr. Miller? 

Miller. — I don’t think so many. 

SoKOLSKY. — Would II be a conservative number? 

Miller. — The American Federation of Labor indicates about 
II million. 

SoKOLSKY. — All right, ii million. We had only that number 
in the worst period of the depression. . . . 

Miller. — A little more at that time. 

SoKOLSKY. — And we’ve spent how many billion dollars since 

1933? 

Miller. — Twenty billion dollars. 

SoKOLSKY. — Twenty billion dollars! And we come out at the 
end of 6 years exactly where we were, except that we’re 
20 billion dollars poorer. That comes out of your pocket. 
Miss Brenner, and mine. 

Miller. — We’re not exactly where we were, Mr. Sokolsky. . . . 

O’Rourke. — What would you have done with all the men that 
would be out of work that were employed on that 20 billions 
of dollars ? What would they be doing during that period ? 

Brenner. — Don’t you think that something to restore business 
would be a better occupation for the industrialists than 
just trying to discredit the attempts of the President ? 

Sokolsky. — Any businessman is in business to make money, and 
if he can make money he’ll make it. If Roosevelt could 
make money for industry, he’d be the most popular man 
in the country with industry, and they’d contribute to 
his campaign fund. As it is, they buy insurance policies. 

Brenner. — Well, I think Roosevelt has contributed a great 
deal . . . {Discussion fades off the air) 

Announcer. — {Closing announcement) 



188 



BEST PUBLIC DISCUSSION 
(PREPARED) 



H ow Can Government and 
Business Work Together? 

From America’s Town Meeting of the Air 
slslslslsislslslsulslsijlslslslslslslsl^^ 

I T WAS on May 30, 1935, that the Town Crier’s voice and 
bell first resounded from the loud-speakers of the 
nation, announcing an uncensored, spontaneous discus- 
sion, based on the New England town meeting idea. Thus 
Town Hall, New York, which had been carrying forward 
a program of public enlightenment since its founding in 
1894 as the League for Political Education, had lengthened 
its shadow till it stretched to the Pacific Coast. All the more 
remarkable was this growth when it is realized that this 
institution grew out of the efforts of six women who wished 
to prove their right to the ballot by improving their 
political equipment. 

The man who conceived the idea for America’s Town 
Meeting of the Air and who subsequently piloted the new 
program to its remarkable success is George V. Denny, Jr., 
moderator of the program and president of Town Hall, 
New York. Shocked by examples of political intolerance 
on every side, Denny, at that time associate director of the 
League for Political Education, sensed the possibilities of a 
radio program that would make it essential for a man to 
listen to all sides in order to hear his own. Thus Town Hall 
could do nationally, over the air, what it had been doing 
locally in New York for over forty years. 

Town Hall’s Radio Forum Division, directed by Marian 
S. Carter, plans and schedules individual programs, ob- 
tains the speakers, arranges preliminary open forums, 
coordinates Town Hall’s efforts with those of the Educa- 
tional Department of the National Broadcasting Company. 

i8g 



BEST BROADCASTS OF 1938-39 

The program has developed a technique that, under most 
conditions, challenges and sustains the interest of the lis- 
tener throughout its duration and, most important of all, 
leaves him in a state of mind that urges him to do something 
about what he has just heard. 

The program is based on three principles; conflict, sus- 
pense, and fair play. Conflict is achieved by placing two 
basic affirmative contentions in direct opposition to each 
other. This deliberate avoidance of the old-fashioned debate 
technique (affirmative and negative) makes possible the 
most constructive sort of presentation for both sides, and 
it is precisely here that the great intellectual value of the 
broadcast lies. Because the emphasis is a constructive one 
(two opposed affirmatives) the listener is himself encour- 
aged to think constructively about the problem at issue 
rather than to dismiss those views inhospitable to his 
prejudices or to applaud those that are naturally con- 
genial to him. It is not the purpose of America’s Town 
Meeting to influence public opinion in one direction or 
another but to stimulate the nation to think for itself. 

The second principle, although of less intellectual respect- 
ability than the conflict factor just noted, is a dramatic 
indispensability to all programs of this type. It is the item 
of suspense. Anything at all is likely to happen, and at one 
time or another almost everything has. 

The audiences are keyed up and partisan, and because 
they know they are to have the privilege of questioning 
the guest speakers at the conclusion of their formal state- 
ments, they have a feeling of direct personal participation 
in the program. Often they don’t like what they hear, and 
their tussles with the speakers frequently burst into the 
microphones in condemnatory challenge and spontaneous 
rebuttal. The Town Hall series has always had the cyclo- 
ramic advantage of a lively audience, and the scattered but 
recurrent percentage of irresponsibles, drunks, and crack- 
pots. Most of the questions are, of course, sincerely and 
seriously put, and they are answered in kind, to the 
applause or hisses of the visible house. The sober extempo- 
raneous questions have a definite dramatic contribution 
of their own, but the chance for the unexpected and the 



190 



GOVERN MENT AND BUSINESS 



sometimes sensational sits over the atmosphere of these 
programs like a detonator on a stick of dynamite. It is 
this quality of suspense that turns a good broadcast into 
a good show. 

The final ingredient is fair play. This is perhaps the 
most necessary of all, although not the most conspicuous. 
Everything possible is done to ensure a hearing for all 
constructive points of view on public questions. The very 
name, Town Hall, is becoming increasingly associated 
with the democratic tradition. 

This excellent series has been renewed by contract for 
another three years. Its most effective follow-up service is 
the publication of printed copies of the season’s twenty-six 
broadcasts. In the 1938-39 period the Columbia University 
Press sold a quarter of a million of these to listeners eager 
to have a permanent record of what had been said. A thou- 
sand listening groups throughout the country use the Town 
Meeting program as a basis for their own discussions follow- 
ing the broadcasts. An average of 4,000 letters come in 
after every show. 

Almost every important public name in America today 
has been identified with one or another of the Town Hall 
broadcasts. The program selected for this volume of Best 
Broadcasts occurred on January 6, 1938, and still stands as 
one of the most effective public discussions ever broadcast 
in this country. For timeliness, for clarity of thought and 
expression, for audience appeal, it has had few equals in 
radio’s long service to the advancement of an informed pub- 
lic opinion in America. “How Can Government and 
Business Work Together?’’ was the evening’s question. 
The speakers were Robert Jackson, Assistant Attorney 
General of the United States, and Wendell L. Willkie, 
president of the Commonwealth and Southern Corporation. 



IQI 



America’s Town Meeting 
of the Air* 

JLSULSUULlULJiSULJLJLSLSULJLJLJLSLSUUULS^^ 

Mr. Howard Claney, Announcer. — As we bring you our first 
Town Meeting of the new year, it is my privilege to make 
an important announcement about the institution under 
whose auspices these programs are presented in cooperation 
with the National Broadcasting Company. Until yesterday 
the name of that institution was the League for Political 
Education, a nonpartisan, nonsectarian educational organ- 
ization founded in 1894, which built and owns New York’s 
Town Hall on West 43rd Street, where these meetings 
are held each week. Today the name of that institution 
is The Town Hall, Incorporated, and it ranks as one of 
the foremost institutions in the field of adult education. 
The title of the chief executive, who is our presiding officer, 
has been changed from that of director to president. And 
now I take pleasure in presenting the president of The 
Town Hall, Incorporated, and our moderator, Mr. George V. 
Denny, Jr. 

Chairman George V. Denny. — Good evening, neighbors! I 
would like to try to answer briefly a question that has been 
asked many times during the fall as to how this program is 
financed or, in the words of one of our correspondents, “ How 
such a program came to happen.” 

About 3 years ago. The Town Hall, Incorporated, formerly 
the League for Political Education, presented the National 
Broadcasting Company with the plan for this program 
and explained at the same time that we had no funds vdth 
which to undertake it. Very courageously, I think, IMr. John 
Royal, the vice-president of NBC in charge of program, 
agreed to try an experimental series of six programs and 

* Reprinted by special permission of The Town Hall, Inc., and copjrright, 
1939. The reprinted transcript is from the Town Hall bulletin, “Town Meet- 
ing,” Vol. 3, No. 10, published by Columbia University Press, 2960 Broad- 
way, New York. 



IQ2 



I 



AMERICA'S TOWN MEETING OF THE AIR 

pay all expenses. Your enthusiastic reception and contintiing 
response to our efforts have encouraged the National Broad- 
casting Company to continue giving us this very excellent 
hour every Thursday evening. While cooperating with us 
fvdly in arranging these programs, there has never been 
the slightest attempt on the part of NBC at anything 
savoring of censorship. Due to the fair play and good 
sportsmanship on the part of both speakers and audience, 
we have continued to give you constructively useful pro- 
grams. Only responsible qualified speakers are asked to 
participate in these discussions: and about half of the 
audience is composed of members of The Town Hall, 
Incorporated; the others have been given tickets upon 
written request. 

Tonight we bring you a program that is a typical example 
of the kind of thing America’s Town Meeting of the Air 
was founded to present. This is not a debate. It is not our 
purpose to widen cleavages but rather to find common 
ground upon which all classes and all groups of American 
citizens may work toward our general welfare. How can 
government and business work together? That is our sub- 
ject. I know of none more interesting or important for this 
nation. We have been extremely fortunate in securing as 
our speakers the Hon. Robert H. Jackson, Assistant Attorney 
General of the United States, and Mr. Wendell L. WiUkie, 
president of the Commonwealth and Southern Corporation. 
At the close of their addresses we will have the usual question 
period from the audience. It is now my very great pleasure 
to introduce our first speaker, Mr. Robert H. Jackson, 
Assistant Attorney General of the United States. 

Mr. Robert H. Jackson. — Probably no two men who personally 
respect each other enough to appear in public together could 
look at the relations of government to business through more 
differently colored glasses than Mr. Willkie and myself. 
I have admired his consistent willingness to stand up 
man-fashion and submit his views to the test of dispas- 
sionate but frank discussion. This is the only process by 
which a democratic people can reach decisions on con- 
flicting policies. I have recently paid my respects to that 
small but loud section of business which has been “ganging 
up’’ on democracy. So tonight I can address myself to that 
larger number who submit their case to the sotmd judgment 
of democracy. 



193 



BEST BROADCASTS OF i938“39 



Business means one thing to Mr. Willkie and another 
to me. In professional life I was a lawyer chiefly for what 
we would call small business. My stake in that is far more 
permanent and important to me than any stake in pohtics. 
And in government my particular job is to try to use the 
archaic antitrust laws to preserve this same kind of small 
and independent business. Mr. Willkie, on the other hand, 
has become not only one of the outstanding lawyers for 
big business but his mastery of finance and administration 
has carried him to the presidency of one of the largest public 
utihty holding corporations in the nation. 

Small business, of comse, has its problems with govern- 
ment, one of the chief of which is the correction of inequities 
in the tax struct-ure. But it is chiefly big business that is at 
war on many fronts with government. The most constructive 
thing we can do tonight is to analyze the reasons why they 
do not get along. 

First of all, there is one thing which the people expect 
business as a whole somehow to do. That is to ftmiish 
steady jobs for all who want to work and to furnish enough 
goods to make up that standard of living which we have 
come to regard as American. The public is convinced that 
a proper economic arrangement, in a nation of such unlim- 
ited resources, can give that, and so am I. First we look to 
business for it. But if industry will not provide it, the people 
are determined to provide it for themselves through their 
government. This nation has repudiated for all time what 
Senator Wagner has so well called “the outmoded dogma 
that the helpless must help themselves.” A man off the 
pay roll is a man on the tax roU. And whether or not business 
Ukes this as a philosophy, it must face it as a fact. 

There are those who answer that private enterprise can 
take care of itself . . . that all government needs do is 
“let business alone.” Let’s see about that. It is important, 
if true . . . and it isn’t true. 

This circle of American private enterprise has never been 
continuously self-sustaining. It has always operated tmder 
concealed subsidies. Until the end of the last century we 
operated a WPA by which the unemployed could get a 
quarter section of public land just for occupjdng it. Then 
came the second WPA . . . government borrowing and 
spending for the World War. After the war came the third 
WPA. We went into a foreign boondoggling program. 



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AMERICA’ S TOWN MEETING OF THE AIR 



American investors furnished funds . . . which they lost 
. . . which ran a WPA, btiilding schools and highways and 
housing in Eirrope and South America. 

We no longer have these costly but concealed subsidies 
to take up the slack in employment. Private enterprise in 
America today is in a situation where chiefly its own workers 
are its customers, and its customers are its own workers. 
Unless it can keep the circle of goods and wages moving 
then the government directly and brazenly must All the 
gap in employment on one hand and the need for goods on 
the other. We are right out in the open with sheer naked 
taxes on private enterprise for cash relief. That system can 
grow to Heaven knows what ! 

Government last year tried to cooperate with the business 
demand to get out of government spending, and the problem 
has come back with increased intensity. What, then, can 
we do? 

There is, to my mind, an essential first step. That is for 
big business deliberately and speedily to go to a policy of 
high volume production, low price, and the highest wage 
scale possible. As one industry has put the philosophy, we 
must have more goods for more people at less cost. Steel 
prices cannot be geared to produce profits at 45 per cent 
of capacity. Building materials must be priced so that build- 
ing may go on from year to year, as needed. Bmlding indus- 
tries cannot prosper if we can afford to build only in the 
years when we can afford to be extravagant. 

In business that is really competitive, prices adjust them- 
selves. But today a few companies in each industry have 
grown so powerful that they can, by various devices not 
reached by present laws, hold prices up for a long time even 
if they lose customers. They have a short-sighted philosophy 
that it is better policy in the long run to sell less goods at 
high prices than more goods at lower prices. Steel has 
dechned in production from near 90 per cent of capacity 
to near 30 per cent without dropping the price a cent. It is 
interesting to know that even the government cannot get 
really competitive bids for steel. For example, bids for 
reinforcement bars for Fort Peck dam were filed by 10 com- 
panies, but each bid was exactly $253,633.80 . . . identical 
to a penny. That could not happen in a truly competitive 
industry. Indeed, there are reputable economists who 



BEST BROADCASTS OF 1938-39 

believe it would not happen even in a wisely managed 
monopoly. 

Steel is not alone in this policy. Important basic industries, 
notably those supplying building materials, have followed 
the same policy and have simply priced us out of a hoiising 
program. 

The other day when General Motors laid off 30,000 men 
Mr. Knudsen, their president, stated as one of the reasons, 
“I think the price level rose too fast in the spring of 1937, 
and we just could not get adjusted to it.” 

This dramatizes the fact that there is a silent economic 
conflict in this coimtry between two kinds of industry. 
On the one hand we have high price, low voltime industries, 
largely in the monopoly or semimonopoly class. On the 
other hand we have competitive industry, large and small. 
Competitive industry is much dependent on noncompetitive 
industry for its raw materials. The automobile industry 
as a whole has been competitive and has followed a high 
voltune, low price policy. The unprecedented growth of this 
industry has been due to the fact that it did not shut down 
its plant and wait for the people to get rich enough to buy 
cars. It tried to make cars that people could buy without 
waiting to become rich. 

I hope to see antimonopoly laws enacted that will be 
adequate to throw the power of organized government back 
of those businesses which are pursuing a policy of serving 
the public with an abundance of goods at prices it can afford 
to pay. 

This brings us to another problem that faces both business 
and government. Mr. Knudsen gave another and very 
illuminating reason for laying off those 30,000 men. One 
reason was, he said, that new cars could not be sold, and 
the reason for that was that used cars could not be sold. 
In other words, one reason why those men are out of work 
tonight is that there is not enough buying power in the 
particular kind of people who certainly would buy used 
cars if they could. 

But it has been the underlying policy of this New Deal 
administration to raise the incomes of just this sort of 
people. The administration has tried to keep the used car 
market open. On Jime 2, 1937, I opened the Congressional 
hearings on behalf of the President’s proposal for a minimum 

iq6 



AMERICA* S TOWN MEETING OF THE AIR 



wage bill to put a floor under depressed wages and to keep 
up piirchasing power. The Wagner Labor Relations Act, 
to give labor the right to collectively bargain so that it 
could intelligently and effectively protect its own purchasing 
power, was an administration measure. Farm bills and relief 
measures have been advanced with the very purpose of 
helping purchasing power . . . purchasing power of this 
very low income group who are the people who are willing 
to take on the used car. 

I do not need to point out the opposition; it announces 
itself. Big business opposition, in my opinion, has been 
as short-sighted as suicide. A low wage policy is inconsistent 
with the standard of living which American business is 
organized to serve. Unless it is willing to pay wages which 
will sustain a high standard of American living, it cannot 
have a market for the commodities which only a high stand- 
ard of living will call for. 

From all these important things the people want business 
to do, I now turn to an aU-important thing they want 
business to do. 

They do not want all of the business of the country to be 
swallowed up by a few corporations. So long as the American 
spirit lives and democracy survives, so that its spirit can be 
expressed in law, the American Congress will be tr3dng to 
break down the concentration of power just as fast as the 
imperialists of business pile it up. We are a proud people 
raised on the doctrines of equality found in the Declaration 
of Independence. We do not like to be bossed too much, not 
even by a boss whom we know we can change through the 
ballot box. We do not like to have any one man or corpora- 
tion own the town. 

Because we are a democratic people we are a friendly and 
sociable people. We know the comer grocer, the automobile 
dealer, the fellow who mns the factory, and the men who 
nm the bank. We know that they are harassed by the pres- 
sures of bigger competitors and by the prices of big industries 
that control their supplies. We do not care if, and we do not 
believe it is true that, the big concerns that swallow up 
these local businessmen do any better job, on the whole, for 
our community. 

This fear of concentration represented by an anti-big- 
business feeling is one of the strongest instincts in American 



BEST BROADCASTS OF 1938-39 

politics. Through the centuries people have been afraid of 
anyone’s getting control of too much land, the basic resotirce 
of an agricultural civilization. The same instinct bids us now 
to keep power companies from getting too much of the 
nation’s electric energy, because this is a basic resource of 
the coming industrial civilization. 

This is the point where Mr. Willkie has his difficulties 
with the government. Mr. Willkie is a good operator . . . 
especially with the TV A alongside of him to strengthen 
his resolve to be good. But Mr. Willkie represents con- 
trol of utility systems in six states through one great holding 
company. It is the democratic instinct of otir people that 
arises in the holding company law. People would feel more 
comfortable if Mr. Willkie could control only two or three 
states. That simple illustration is typical of many of the 
contests between concentrated controls of business and 
popular government. 

We have no present substitute for a system of private 
enterprise motivated by private profit, whatever its de- 
fects. To my practical mind, our job is to make the sys- 
tem that is here work. It will take all the strength and 
intelligence of both business and government to make 
it work under existing foreign and domestic stresses. 

But the businessman asks, “Are there not risks in de- 
parting from old policies?” Yes, risk is the condition of 
winning, and consider the risks you take in not chang- 
ing. Covmt the cost of not doing it against the cost of 
doing it. Business needs protection from stagnation far 
more than from adventure. Remember, the tax collector 
has to be most busy when industry is idle, in order to 
complete the circle with tax funds. We must reform to 
conserve. 

Mr. Willkie was one of the pioneers . . . stimulated no 
doubt by a little competition from TVA ... in the adop- 
tion of a low price, high volume basis for his industry. 
He ventured and it paid. 

Business should get over thinking about men in public 
life as being different from themselves. There are dumb 
plays in government, matched by some in business. There 
is waste and incompetence in government, but get any 
banker’s opinion, privately expressed, of some of his debtor’s 
operations. I have seen politics interfere with administrative 

ig8 



A MERICA’ S TOWN MEETING OF THE AIR 



efficiency in government. I have also seen personal and 
family and banker politics do some pretty weird things in 
business. I have charged off enough small investments so 
that I am not sure big businessmen are any more infallible 
than politicians. In fact, I don’t know which brand of wisdom 
I distrust the most, that of the theorists who have studied a 
business but never run one or that of the executives who 
have run a business but never studied it. 

The greatest difference between the man I meet in govern- 
ment and the man I meet in business is this; The man 
who is in government is brought in contact with the problems 
of all kinds and conditions of men. Everybody’s business 
is his business. He looks at society, if he does his duty, as a 
whole mechanism rather than specializing his interest 
in a single business. The private businessman, on the other 
hand, up to now has been intensely preoccupied with a very 
narrow sector of the world. He has seldom looked about to 
see the effect which his acts may be having upon the lives 
of other people. It is this fundamental difference in viewpoint 
that occasions much of the conflict between business and 
government. 

The difficulty in getting along with business is not so 
much that it has a bad philosophy of the functions of 
government as that it has no philosophy as to the broader 
functions of itself. It tends to make great strife over tempo- 
rary irritations, and it passes unnoticed fundamental 
menaces to its long-range interest. 

Otir need now is to settle upon a common objective for 
business and government. My little contribution is to 
suggest this program of high volume, low price industrial 
economy, which will sustain a high wage scale, which in 
turn will support a high standard of living, which will 
demand and pay for the high volume production, at prices 
determined by its wages. The economic organization must 
find ways in its bargaining, its ownership and its manage- 
ment to provide for the play of orrr democratic instincts . . . 
the most fundamental force in American life. 

Regardless of any consequences, I am ready to go down 
the line to cooperate with anyone to foster this kind of 
American life, and I am just as ready to go down the line 
against anyone who tries to destroy this kind of American 
life. (Applause) 



IQQ 



BEST BROADCASTS OF 1938-39 

Denny. — Thank you, Mr. Jackson. Now, we are ready to hear 
a different point of view. Mr. Willkie, president of the 
Commonwealth and Southern Corporation, has asked 
me to state that he cannot and does not attempt to speak 
for all American industry. His statements and opinions 
are entirely his own, as I presume are Mr. Jackson’s. I take 
great pleasure in presenting Mr. Wendell L. W illki e. 

Mr. Wendell L. Willkie. — I wonder if it seems strange to 
any of you tonight that we should be discussing the question 
of whether or not the government should cooperate with 
American business. I have an idea that if, from the town 
meetings of the past, our forefathers should arise to attend 
this meeting, they would be a little puzzled by such a topic. 
They might ask, with some surprise, if it was not the fvmc- 
tion of American government to encourage the development 
of private enterprise. They would, of course, first be aston- 
ished that such a town meeting as this was possible at 
all . . . that several million people, from all over the 
land, should be gathered together by means of the myster- 
ious network of the air. They would want to be told about 
this big business of radio manufacture which in 15 years 
by large-scale production has cut the price of its product 
by three-fourths and sold it to nearly 25,000,000 families. 
And after they had learned about these things, they would, 
I think, be even more puzzled as to why, over the facilities 
made possible by American business genius, we should be 
discussing whether or not American business, big or little, 
should be encouraged to proceed. 

For several years now we have been listening to a bed- 
time story telling us that the men who hold office in Wash- 
ington, are, by their very positions, endowed with a special 
virtue, that they are men of far vision and of exceptional 
ability and capacity. Businessmen, on the other hand, 
particularly so-called big businessmen, are pictured as the 
ruthless dictators of sprawling industrial empires with no 
real abihty except the talent for collecting money for 
themselves. 

Now, most of you who are listening to this broadcast 
tonight will remember Joe or Tim or Dick or someone 
else who left your town and went to the city and made 
a name for himself in business. Most business leaders 
today were just such small town boys. You will remem- 
ber also other Toms and Dicks and Joes who went into 



200 



AMERICA' S TOWN MEETING OF THE AIR 



local politics and then into Federal politics, perhaps into 
one of the many new administrative bureaus in Washing- 
ton today. On the basis of your own experience, which of 
these, the businessman or the man in politics, wears the 
longer horns or sports the whiter wings? Would you, from 
what you know personally, consider the politician to have 
the greater ability and the more noble character? I tell 
you quite frankly that I find no halo on the head of either. 
I have known men in government who were excessively 
greedy for power, and I likewise have known men in business 
who were excessively greedy for money. But this is not 
typical of either group, and whatever other monopolies 
Mr. Jackson may claim to find, I know he has not found, 
even among government officials, a monopoly on virtue. 

But there is another myth that has been handed out to 
us in recent years, and that is that big business and small 
business have different and opposing interests. My dis- 
tinguished companion on the platform has made this a 
favorite theme of his many speeches. He has warned against 
government cooperation with big business, maintaining 
that, to quote his words, “the governmental cooperation 
which the small businessman wants is a different kind.” 

The fact of the matter is that small business and big busi- 
ness prosper under exactly the same conditions, and the 
conditions that are harmful to one are harmful to the 
other. In fact, small business suffers more acutely from 
such things as heavy taxation, government hostility, and 
timidity of investment, because it has no reserves with 
which to preserve itself in time of adversity. Big business 
supplies a market to small business not only by buying its 
products but by stimulating the general market; moreover, 
it furnishes small business with low cost materials and 
supplies. The two are dependent, one upon the other. When 
we say that American industry is prosperous, we mean that 
the small businesses of America, which comprise the larger 
part of our industry, are prosperous. 

After all, a large corporation is simply a corporation in 
which as a rule the interest is divided among a great many 
small stockholders. If government succeeds in destroying 
a large corporation, more people, both stockholders and 
employees, suffer at one time, that is all. It is not the size 
that makes a corporation bad or good; it is the way it 
operates. For example, the government has been currently 



201 



BEST BROADCASTS OF 1938-39 

investigating most of the major industries of the covmtry, 
such as the oil industry, automobiles, telephone and tele- 
graph, utilities, and railroads. These are typical big business 
industries. What have they achieved ? Do they make a good 
product? Is it sold at a fair price? Does labor receive a 
a fair wage ? 

Well, every American workingman knows that the highest 
wages and the best working conditions are foimd in the 
large corporations. If the wage and hour bill is passed, the 
effect on America’s big business corporations will be negli- 
gible, because their wage levels are already above the 
minimum suggested in the bill. Also, it seems a little ironical 
for government officials to be lecturing big business on the 
desirability of low price and large volume, because this 
was the technique which was developed and made possible 
only by mass production and distribution tmder the leader- 
ship of big business. 

The oil industry, for example, is one in which there are a 
number of very large companies of the kind Mr. Jackson 
dislikes. Yet anyone who has driven a car abroad knows 
that the system of service stations which we take for granted 
here is duplicated in very few places outside our borders. 
Although nearly half of what we pay for gasoline represents 
the government tax, we can still buy it for less than in 
almost any other place in the world. And, of course, no 
country pays refinery workers as high a wage as they receive 
here. In fact, the average hourly wage rates in refineries 
have increased more than 50 per cent in the past 15 years, 
while the gasoline price, excluding the tax, has declined by 
nearly the same amount. 

More than 50 per cent of all telephones in the world are 
in the United States, and they cost the consumer a smaller 
part of his income than anywhere else. 

During the 4 years ended in 1932, the American automobile 
industry lost 80 per cent of its business. In i year the 
industry’s net loss was half the cost of the Panama Canal. 
Yet during that 4-year period the industry made a low 
priced car which was better than the highest priced car in 
1926. The public got a better car for considerably less 
money; and the reduction in price did not come out of the 
pockets of labor, because automobile labor continued to be 
among the highest paid of all manufacturing industries. 
Here again, it was big business that made the achievement 



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AMERICA'S TOWN MEETING OF THE AIR 



possible. At a press conference in 1936, President Roosevelt 
quoted with approval a remark made by Walter P. Chrysler, 
stating that because of the efficient production methods 
made possible by the big automobile companies we could 
buy a car for $600 today which otherwise would cost $3,500. 
The President stated at that time that the same methods 
should be applied to the housing industry. 

Of all the industries mentioned, the utility industry, with 
its enormous demand for additional construction and 
equipment, is the most important to our economic recovery. 
And how has it been operated? Since the prewar years 
the cost of living has gone up about 40 per cent, and the 
cost of electricity in this country has gone down by almost 
exactly the same per cent. The American consumer pays a 
smaller part of his income for electricity than the consumers 
in any country in Europe. On an average, the American 
pays 9 cents a day for electricity or less than the govern- 
ment tax on a package and a half of cigarettes. 

Since Mr. Jackson has at times employed the usual govern- 
ment argument against the utihty holding company, 
perhaps we should note here that electricity costs less 
when it is supplied by one of the great utility holding 
company systems. In every one of the 48 states of the 
United States, you will find in operation both the so-called 
independent utilities which are unaffected by the death 
sentence of the Utility Holding Company Act, and the 
utihty companies affihated with holding companies. In 
44 of those 48 states the rates of companies in holding com- 
pany systems are lower than the rates of the independent 
companies. 

For example, Mr. Jackson fives in Washington, D. C. . . . 
at least temporarily . . . which gets its electricity from 
one of the companies in the great North American Holding 
Company system. A few miles away, operating under 
identical conditions, is one of those so-called independent 
companies. The average rate for electric service in the 
Washington home is 3 cents per kilowatt-hour. The average 
rate for this same service in the independent company’s 
territory is 4 cents, or 33 per cent higher. Because of the 
low rate of the holding company utility, the home owners 
of Washington save approximately million dollars per 
year in their electricity bill. Which is worth more to the 
people of that city, a saving of million dollars on the 



203 



BEST BROADCASTS OF 1938-39 

electricity they use or the acceptance of a political formula 
which decrees that mere size is wrong even though it saves 
money for the people ? 

I use Washington as an example because Mr. Jackson comes 
from there. Similar comparisons can be made in almost 
every state of the Union. Mr. Jackson is mistaken: the 
Commonwealth and Southern Corporation, of which I 
have the honor to be president, operates in ii states, 5 of 
them in the North. These 5 Northern companies are wholly 
remote from the Tennessee Valley Authority. The average 
rate of these companies and our Southern companies is 
lower than that of any utility group in America. 

No doubt there have been weaknesses and abuses in all 
the industries mentioned, and in others, too. Betrayals 
of trust have stained the record of public officials as well 
as of businessmen. In the period following the great war 
there was a breakdown in both government and private 
morals. For the first time in history a member of the Presi- 
dential Cabinet was sent to the penitentiary. Some of those 
who were in charge of the hospitals for America’s war 
veterans were indicted and some convicted for stealing 
the very blankets and towels provided for the care of these 
men who were injured in their country’s service. 

Speaking of abuses in his relief program. President Roose- 
velt stated: “It should be remembered that in every big 
job there are some imperfections. There are chiselers in 
every walk of life, there are those in every industry who are 
guilty of unfair practices, every profession has its black 
sheep. ... ’’If this quotation from President Roosevelt 
represents what otrr attitude should be toward the mistakes 
of the few in government . . . and I think it does . . . 
then that should also be our attitude toward industry. In 
view of the friendlier tone of the President’s last speeches, I 
hope that at last we can have done with the epithets, the 
calling of names, the catchwords . . . catchwords which 
have been so glibly used, such as “economic royalists,” 
“Bourbons,” “moneyed aristocrats,” “banker control,” 
“holding companies,” and the nonsense about “sixty ruling 
families.” 

“A good catchword,” Justice Oliver WendeU Holmes said, 
“can obsctme analysis for fifty years.” Today we are very 
much in need of analysis without catchwords. The business 
decline has become so serious that government ofificials, 



204 



AMERICA' S TOWN MEETING OF THE AIR 



who at first sought to minimize it, are now seeking fran- 
tically to make big business responsible. Some of these 
officials allege that the present slump was caused by a few 
business “strong men,” who, like Samson, were willing to 
destroy themselves in order to pull down the house. They 
would have us believe that the automobile companies are 
deliberately trying not to sell cars. They would have us 
believe that the steel companies which were operating at 
90 per cent of capacity are now purposely losing money and 
operating at 20 per cent of capacity and that they increased 
their prices for no reason, whereas, in fact, these prices 
increased less than wages and cost of materials. 

However absurd this charge may be, I see no point in argu- 
ing it. I suggest that we have now reached the time when we 
should stop discussing what caused the depression and should 
direct oru: attention to how to cure it. The real cure con- 
sists in convincing the millions of small investors throughout 
America that the government does not intend to continue 
its attack on American industry, big or little, for it is these 
investors upon whom industry depends for its funds. 

For instance, the utilities need to spend several hundred 
million dollars for new construction, but they can only 
raise the money by selling securities. The investor will buy 
securities only if he thinks that he will get a safe and fair 
rettrm. He knows that the government is now competing 
with private industry in the Tennessee Valley by selling 
electricity at less than cost and charting the loss to the 
Federal Treasury. He knows that the government is giving 
money away to municipalities to duplicate existing distri- 
bution lines. And he will not invest his money in utilities 
merely because someone says that the government is com- 
peting in only 1 5 per cent of the country’s area. 

If there is a smallpox epidemic in a city you cannot con- 
vince a man he is in no danger because at the moment only 
15 per cent of the city is affected. The investor knows that 
if the government can compete in 15 per cent of the United 
States it can compete with any industry anywhere, and he 
is not reassured by government efforts to belittle or conceal 
this competition. 

Mr. Jackson has previously spoken of a “strike of capital” 
against the government. If there is any strike of capital it 
comes from these millions of small investors, not from the 
wealthy few. As a matter of fact, due to the income tax 



20s 



BEST BROADCASTS OF 1938-39 

laws which take up to 83 per cent of a rich man’s investment 
in private enterprise, most of the very rich have been 
investing more and more in the flood of tax-exempt govern- 
ment securities. It might be helpful to industry as well as 
to government revenues if the government should remove 
these tax exemptions; but this in and of itself would not be 
enough. The main problem is to restore the confidence of 
investors in American business, and to do this will require 
more than pleasant speaking on the part of government. 
For several years the government has taken definite action 
to show its hostility to business. It must now take definite 
action to demonstrate the sincerity of its desire to cooperate. 

I don’t think that such cooperation should be difficult. The 
chief reason why government officials and businessmen fail 
to understand each other is because one thinks and speaks 
the language of pohtics and emotionalism, while the other 
thinks and speaks the language of economics and realism. 
One thinks economic forces can be controlled by pohtics, 
while the other realizes that economic forces are more power- 
ful than either government or business. But if we look behind 
this difference in theory, we can find much upon which 
we agree in practice. 

For example, there seems to be no important disagreement 
today on the need for a reduction in the undistributed profits 
tax and the capital gains tax, both of which fall with particu- 
lar severity upon small businesses and both of which restrict 
the expansion of industry. 

Nor is there any general disagreement as to the principles 
of the social legislation which has been put upon the statute 
books in recent years. Time has revealed both the virtues 
and the weaknesses of these laws. The proposal now is simply 
one of eliminating the weaknesses; of modifying those 
restrictions upon the buying and selling of securities that 
hamper the investment of fimds; of readjusting the Social 
Security Act to a pay-as-you-go basis, so that the money 
paid by the people for social security is used only for that 
purpose; of protecting the rights of both capital and labor in 
the promotion of collective bargaining; of getting rid of 
intermediate holding companies in the utility industry 
without declaring a “death sentence” upon all of them. 

Six weeks ago I left with the President a memorandum sug- 
gesting a solution of the utility problem ... a solution 

206 



AMERICA’ S TOWN MEETING OF THE AIR 



which did not ask for less Federal regulation of utilities 
but did ask for an end to unfair government competition 
and unfair government destruction of the property of Amer- 
ican citizens. I am still hopeful that that memorandum will 
provide a basis upon which the utilities may be permitted to 
go ahead with their construction plans. 

Now, is there anything in this outline of a possible relation- 
ship between government and business that is not in the 
interest of the ill-housed, the ill-fed, and the ill-clad? Is 
there anything here that is opposed to the social regulation 
of business ? Does this attitude imply that business is 
“ganging up” on government or that a few corporations 
are attempting to swallow up all American industry ? 

In such a time as this when we see the relief rolls lengthen- 
ing again and the price of farm products declining, when 
many of us are discouraged and when the road to recovery 
seems long, surely business and government should put an 
end to the bitterness of recent years and sit down in con- 
ference like reasonable men with mutual tolerance and 
respect. But the purpose of this conference must not only 
be to plan intelligently for the future but to review those 
laws which have been passed ... to see whether they 
cannot be so modified as to stimulate business activity, 
without removing any of the appropriate social controls. 
And above all, while these conferences are proceeding, the 
American people should be spared the confusion of hearing 
what one government ofiicial says in friendship today denied 
by another in hostility tomorrow. 

At this critical point in our nation’s history, it would seem 
fitting that business and government should bear in mind 
the warning which Abraham Lincoln gave to the two factions 
into which this country was dividing at the time of his first 
inaugural address. “I am loath to close,” he said. “We 
are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies.” 
{Applause) 

Denny. — Mr. Willkie has taken a little more than his allotted 
time, and as the clock is our yardstick of fair play, Mr. Jack- 
son is entitled to 6 minutes, which he tells me he would 
rather waive in favor of the questions. Now, please save 
your own time and don’t take up time applauding and 
demonstrating. Let’s have your questions. Questions, 
please ! 



207 



BEST BROADCASTS OF 1938-39 

Man. — Mr. Jackson, you made reference to a statement made 
by Mr. Knudsen. I chanced to read his testimony before 
the Senate Committee today. He made a statement before 
the committee today that the reason the sale of automobiles 
had declined was not because the people were thrown out of 
work and had no money to buy but that even though they 
had the money they were afraid to buy because they might 
not have jobs in the future. In other words, there is a period 
of vmcertainty ahead which has reduced pturchasing power. 

Jackson. — Unfortunately, I have not read Mr. Knudsen’s 
testimony, and I don’t like to comment on testimony that 
I haven’t heard. I did read his statement as quoted in 
The New York Times at the time that the 30,000 men were 
discharged, and I am not surprised if as a result of that 
there is a good deal of uncertainty in the hearts and minds 
of a good many workingmen as to whether their jobs will 
last. {Applause) 

Man. — I would like to ask Mr. WiUkie whether big business or 
small business is more likely to hire labor spies ? {Applause) 

Denny. — Mr. Willkie, do you want to comment on that ? 

WiLLKiE. — Certainly. Being a member of big business who never 
hired a labor spy in my life, I don’t know the motive that 
actuates either a big or little business, and I wotdd repudiate 
the act by both big business and little business. {Applause) 

Man. — Mr. Jackson, how do you reconcile the New Deal program 
for farmers to cut production to raise prices with its plan of 
increasing industrial production to lower prices ? 

Jackson. — Every person who has ever lived upon a farm knows 
that there is an essential difference in the method of produc- 
tion on a farm and the production in a factory. No farmer 
can control his production unless he can control the weather, 
and that is one of the things we haven’t gotten aroimd to 
regulate yet. {Laughter and applause) Factory production 
is controlled and can be controlled, which makes an entirely 
different matter. 

Man. — Mr. Jackson, don’t we, the people, fear an tmdue con- 
centration in government as much or more than we fear this 
concentration in business ? 

Jackson. — Yes, sir, we do fear it. We do fear it. And the Amer- 
ican people never would concentrate government if they 

208 



AMERICA' S TOWN MEETING OF THE AIR 



didn’t have to concentrate government to regulate the 
concentration of big business. {Applause, cheers, and cries of 
“No”) How can a single state regrdate Mr. Willkie? 

Voice. — That might be in Italy or Germany, but it isn’t that 
in the United States of America. {Applause) 

Man. — Mr. Willkie, what accounts for the Canadian electric 
rates being so much less than the rates of the utility com- 
panies on this side of the Niagara ? 

Willkie. — I was just hoping somebody would ask me that 
question. {Laughter and applause) The difference is that the 
American utility companies are now paying up to 20 per 
cent of their gross revenue in taxes, while the public plants 
in Canada pay no taxes, except a minor amount of taxes on 
real estate. {Applause) 

Man. — Mr. Willkie, you mentioned in your address that the 
large corporations pay a higher wage scale and have better 
working conditions than smaller concerns. Is that not 
by reason of the fact of the large labor turnover in large 
corporations ? 

Willkie. — First, I disagree with you about the facts. In the 
utility business, there is practically no turnover in labor. 
Most of our employees have been with us for more than 
10 years. I would say that the policy of American industry, 
as is well illustrated by the attitude of General Motors, has 
been to attempt to make the production regular so that 
men may be employed as much as possible throughout the 
year and reduce to a minimum the turnover in labor. 
{Applause) 

Man. — Mr. Willkie, what do you think the attitude of the 
government should be towards the cement industry which 
controls prices throughout the country ? 

Willkie. — There is on the statute books the antitrust statute. 
You have seen demonstrating tonight one of the ablest 
lawyers in the United States who is charged with the prose- 
cution of any violation of that statute. I would suggest that 
Mr. Jackson go to work, if there is anything wrong in the 
cement industry or in any other industry with reference to 
monopolistic practices. {Applause) 

Man. — I should like to ask Mr. Jackson what he thinks of the 
undistributed profits surtax ? 



20Q 



BEST BROADCASTS OF 1938-39 



Jackson. — The undistributed profits tax undoubtedly is in 
need of amendment in several particulars, particularly as 
affects small industry. {Applause) I want to say to you that 
I believe in the undistributed profits tax in the main. I 
know that the representations that have been made that 
corporate surpluses are a cushion against depression are not 
true, because General Motors when it laid off 30,000 men 
had over $400,000,000 of corporate surplus. {Applause) 

Woman. — Mr. Jackson said that farm production could not be 
controlled. Why did the government attempt it in the case 
of cotton ? 

Jackson. — The most the government attempted to do was to 
place a maximum of production and to avoid the creation 
of a surplus which could not be handled, since the foreign 
markets had fallen away, due to the fact that we had qmt 
sending foreign money abroad with which they could buy 
our products. {Cries of “No”) 

Woman. — Mr. Jackson, if the government continues its expansion 
program in the power field, what will happen to the billions 
of dollars invested in stocks and bonds now held by our 
insurance companies, investment trusts, estates, and the 
public ? 

Jackson. — The government of the United States has never 
attempted to destroy the power industry. {Cry of “Not 
much”) The government of the United States wants the 
power industry to furnish power at rates that are fair to the 
public as well as to the utility companies. {Applause) Long 
before I was in politics I pointed out to the utility industry 
in an address to the American Bar Association utility 
lawyers that the trouble with the power industry was that 
it was issuing too many securities called “power seciuities” 
that had little relation to power and none to security. 
{Cry of “Right” and applause) 

Man. — Mr. Jackson, do you think the fair way to get lower 
electric rates is to subsidize municipal competition with 
50 per cent grants and free taxation ? 

Jackson. — I don’t think the question of fairness enters into it, 
I don’t know that it is necessarily fair for two policemen 
to arrest one crook. But, if the government of the United 
States is going to carry out its power policy by competitive 



210 



AMERICA' S TOWN MEETING OF THE AIR 



methods, because we have seen the methods of regulation 
due to the big holding companies’ control break down, it 
must use ordinary competitive methods. {Boos and applause) 

Woman. — Mr. Willkie, is it not true that the rates of Common- 
wealth and Southern are the lowest because of pressure 
from TVA. ? {Applause) 

Willkie. — As I said, we operate in ii states, 5 in the North 
and 6 in the South. Our rate schedules in our major Northern 
companies are almost identical with the rate schedules 
in om* Southern companies; only those in the North are 
slightly lower. The Tennessee Valley Authority is building 
competitive lines, and the Federal government is giving 
45 per cent absolutely free with which to duplicate existing 
utility systems in Tennessee. The average rate of the Ten- 
nessee Electric Power Company is less than 3 cents, which 
is 25 to 30 per cent below the national average, and those 
properties will be destroyed and the investors will lose their 
money if this policy, which Mr. Jackson recognizes has no 
element of fairness in it, is not discontinued. {Applause) 

Man. — M r. Jackson, is the aim of the New Deal ultimately to 
nationalize all the pubHc utihties ? 

Jackson. — I should say, no. I haven’t heard of its nationalizing 
any public utilities. {Applause) 

Man. — Has it occurred to Mr. Jackson that the price govern- 
ment power operations quote does not include the interest 
on the capital invested in the form of the taxpayer’s money 
nor for provision for amortization of the debt? In other 
words, an incomplete balance sheet is presented to the 
American public and endorsed as bona fide by the govern- 
ment. What is the difference between this procedure and 
Mr. Insull’s ? {Laughter and applause) 

Jackson. — I am not an accountant, and if I were, I wouldn’t 
attempt to give an answer to that question in the time 
that is allowed here. I don’t know the details of the account- 
ing of TVA, and I don’t know the details of the accounting 
of private utilities. 

Denny. — Thank you, Mr. Jackson, we must close now. I hope 
that all who are listening in as groups will continue their 
discussions as profitably as I know we are going to continue 
it here among ourselves. {Applause) 



2II 



BEST COMEDY SHOW 



T own Hall Tonight 

by Fred Allen 

■Itaafl g a OOQOOga O fl OanPQO QOOQOQQOQQQOQOPQQOOOQQQOOO 

J OHN Florence Sullivan, better known to radio mil- 
lions as Fred Allen, started his professional life in the 
Boston Public Library. Here he found a book on juggling, 
and before long the staid atmosphere of the library was 
enlivened by the incongruous sight of a lost but earnest 
young man throwing all manner of things into the air and 
catching some of them again on their way down; inkwells 
and variorum editions, paper knives and date stamps, 
mucilage bottles, clipping shears, and packages of thumb- 
tacks, all had their daily whirl. Even the furniture was 
violated. His employers, good Boston bibliophiles, did not 
get the idea, and he was fired before the full flow’^ering of 
his legerdemain. He went into vaudeville, billed as “The 
World’s Worst Juggler,” which he no doubt was. 

Bad as it was, audiences liked the act, especially liked 
the patter that went with it. This was a discursive and 
nasal monologue that was funnier than anything in vaude- 
ville at the time and unique in that each new performance 
was refreshed with new material. This habit of output was 
to be of great use to him ten years later in radio. 

Fred Allen first appeared on Broadway in the “Passing 
Show of 1922,” and although he ascribes the decline of the 
theatre to this circumstance, he turned up again in many 
other shows . . . notably “Three’s a Crowd,” and “The 
Little Show.” His take-off of Admiral Byrd’s polar expedi- 
tion (in “The Little Show”) still lingers in the memory of 
the public as one of the great burlesques of the decade. 

His radio work began in 1932 with a short-lived program 
called The Bath Club. This was followed shortly by his 
Town Hall Tonight series with The Mighty AUen Art 
Players, The Town Hall Quartet, Portland Hoffa (Mrs. 



212 



TOWN HALL TONIGHT 



Allen), Peter Van Steeden and his orchestra, and others. 
It has been a top-ranking show ever since. 

Fred Allen writes almost all the show himself. He works 
nearly all night and sleeps till early afternoon each day. 
At the conclusion of the Wednesday night repeat show 
(i :oo A.M.) he has a final huddle with the production crew 
and his two researchers, then goes home to bed. On Thurs- 
day he starts work on The Mighty Allen Art Players sketch 
and gets this done usually about dawn on Friday. Friday 
night he writes the Man You Didn’t Expect to Meet rou- 
tine. Saturday, with his floor littered with New York 
dailies, he prepares the newsreels. On Sunday he does the 
Portland spot. Monday is the preliminary rehearsal, 
after which Fred tears apart and rewrites the entire show. 
This keeps him up all Monday night and through most of 
Tuesday. Dress rehearsal takes place Wednesday noon, 
and from then on until air time the show is cut to fit its 
time limits. The broadcast at nine, the repeat show at 
midnight, and Fred Allen is ready to start another week. 

Town Hall Tonight has every right to the headline posi- 
tion it occupies. The conscientious quest for good material, 
the tryouts and throw-outs and rewrites, the pace and 
variety of its sketches, and the drawling buffoonery of its 
central figure bring to it a sustained quality of high-grade 
entertainment that has no equal in radio shows of its type. 
Most one-hour shows — Vallee, Ameche, Kate Smith, Bing 
Crosby— are variety shows in the strictest sense, composed 
of a series of acts and spots in which no single personality 
is predominant. Fred Allen’s show, although it is a variety 
program in a looser sense, is carried by Fred Allen. One 
can conceive the Vallee hour being presented without Vallee, 
but there would be no Town Hall without Allen. 

For fertility of invention, for good-natured nonsense, for 
universality of appeal, for wholesomeness, I have selected 
Fred Allen’s as the best comedy program of the year and 
his broadcast of December 7, 1938, as representative in 
structure and superior in material. Here is the “as broad- 
cast’’ version of his show for that date. 



213 



Town Hall Tonight* 



flflflaaafl aafla. aflflaaaflflaoQflQQQQQOQQQQQOQQQQoooQPQoo 

Sound. — Gavel sounds. 

Announcer. — Now let’s come to order, folks. It’s Town Hall 
Tonight ! 

Music. — “Smile Darn Yer, Smile.” 

Von Zell. — An hour of smiles in Town Hall Tonight, folks. 
Sixty minutes of fun and music brought to you by Ipana 
Toothpaste and Sal Hepatica. Ipana for the smile of beauty. 
Sal Hepatica for the smile of health. Fun with our star 
comedian, Fred Allen. Music with Peter Van Steeden. 
New songs! New laughs. . . . It’s Town Hall Tonight! 
{Cheers) 

Music. — “ Smile Darn Yer, Smile.” . . . up to finish. 

Von Zell. — The roll has been called, folks. We’re all here. 
The overtiure’s “This Can’t Be Love.’’ So what are we 
waiting for, Peter! 

Music. — “ This Can't Be Love.” {Orchestra and singers). 

Von Zell. — And now we present a man, ladies and gentlemen. 
He wasn’t picked for the All-American. He isn’t number one 
on Your Hit Parade. He hasn’t been called back from a 
foreign country to be here tonight. How he got in nobody 
knows. What’s your name again. Buddy? 

Allen. — Fred Allen. 

Von Zell. — Oh, yes. It’s Fred Allen, in person! {Applause) 

Allen. — Thank you. Thank you. And good evening, ladies and 
gentlemen. Once again, through the courtesy of Mr. Marconi, 
we are enabled to convene for the next 6o minutes. Yes, 

* Permission to reprint the broadcast text of the Fred Allen program for 
December 7, 1938, has been granted by Walter Batchelor, president of the 
Walter Batchelor Enterprises, Inc., sole copyright owner. Permission to use 
all or any part of this material for any purpose can be had only through 
negotiation with the copyright owner. 



214 



TOWN HALL TONIGHT 



radio is a wonderful invention. Don’t you think radio is 
wonderful, Harry? 

VoN Zell. — It sure is, Fred. 

Allen. — Here I am. One man standing in Radio City. The 
minute I open my mouth people all over the country will 
be rushing out into the streets. 

VoN Zell. — Yes, it’s wonderful, Fred. 

Allen. — Radio is improving every day. Have you seen one of 
those new remote control sets ? 

Allen. — With the . . . ? 

VoN Zell. — Yes. 

Allen. — No. I haven’t, Harry. 

VoN Zell. — Say. They’re wonderful. No aerial. No ground. 

Allen. — No entertainment. 

Von Zell. — No. No kidding, Fred. I’ll explain how they work. 
You just have a little portable dial. You can turn the dial 
on. You can be anywhere you like . . . 

Allen. — While Harry is explaining the remote control sets, 
we turn to the latest news of the week. May we have one 
of your tin catcalls, Mr. Van Steeden ? 

Music. — Fanfare. 

Allen. — The Town Hall News. . . . Sees nothing . . . shows 
it in technicolor. 

Music. — Fanfare. 

Allen. — New York City, New York. After 6o years of con- 
tinuous service, the Sixth Avenue Elevated Lines ceased 
operations at midnight, Sunday. Title of entire elevated 
structure passes to the city for $3,500,000, and work of 
demolition will begin at once. Town Hall News interviews 
native New Yorkers, young and old, to get opinions on the 
passing of this historic landmark. First, Mr. Bismark 
Tort, attorney for the stockholders. What caused the El’s 
downfall, Mr. Tort ? 

Von Zell. — The trend has been down. When the trend is down 
the subways get the business. 



215 



BEST BROADCASTS OF 1938-39 

Allen. — I see. Are you taking any legal action for the elevated, 
Mr. Tort? 

Von Zell. — We’re taking the Sixth Avenue El into court. 

Allen. — It will be quite a job, won’t it ? 

Von Zell. — Yes. But I think we can get it in in sections. 

Allen. — You feel you have grounds for a suit, Mr. Tort? 

Von Zell. — Unquestionably. In 1903 we signed a lease for 999 
years. 

Allen. — Hasn’t the city made you an offer to settle ? 

Von Zell. — Yes. They want to give us the World’s Fair when 
they’re through with it. 

Allen. — Well ... I hope everything will come out all right, 
Mr. Tort. 

Von Zell. — It will. All’s El that Ends El . . . That’s Shake- 
speare. 

Allen. — Oh ... I thought the mayor was taking it down. 

Von Zell. — He is. He got the idea from Shakespeare. That is 
suh rosa. 

Allen. — I have heard nothing, Mr. Tort. 

Von Zell. — Too bad. You should have told me. I’d have raised 
my voice. 

Allen. — If I don’t see you, again . . . Merry Christmas, Mr. 
Tort. 

Von Zell. — On Sixth Avenue its Happy No-El. 

Allen. — A Sixth Avenue housewife who doesn’t know what 
she’ll do is Mrs. Elaine O’Gatty. 

Min. — I’m sure gonna miss the old El all right. 

Allen. — Have you been Uving on Sixth Avenue long, Mrs. 
O’Gatty? 

Min. — Thoity years. I spent me honejrmoon on the Staten Island 
Ferry. After that we was “at home’’ on Sixth Avenue. 

Allen. — You’ve been there a long time. 

216 



TOWN HALL TONIGHT 



Min. — Thoity years, momin’, noon, and night ... I been 
bearin’ them stratosphere gondolas go by. 

Allen. — Has stopping the trains bothered you and Mr. O’Gatty 
any? 

Min. — Yeah. The lack o’ noise is somethin’ brutal. Every mid- 
night a train’s been goin’ by fer 30 years. 

Allen. — Yes. 

Min. — Monday midnight nothin’ went by. My old man jumps 
up in bed and says, “What’s that?’’ 

Allen. — I guess losing the El is going to take the romance 
out of your life, Mrs. O’Gatty. 

Min. — I got a lump here, mister. 

Allen. — That .bulge in your throat. 

Min. — No. That’s me Adam’s apple. I got a lump yer can’t see. 
I guess it’s sediment. 

Allen. — You’re going to miss those old trains passing your flat. 

Min. — Yeah. Thoity years seein’ people’s profiles. Wise guys 
thro win’ cigarette butts in me window. Wavin’ at the 
motorman. Stickin’ me tongue out at dames dressed up. 

Allen. — Yes. It must be an awful blow. 

Min. — Yeah. I wouldn’t be surprised if it broke up me home. 

Allen. — Why ? 

Min. — Well, me old man woiks down at the Fulton Fish Market. 
He’s the conjunction man. 

Allen. — Conjtmction man in a fish market. 

Min. — Yeah. His foim makes nothin’ but finn and haddie signs. 
He puts in the conjunction. 

Allen. — But the Sixth Avenue El ... ? 

Min. — I’m cornin’ to that. Every Saturday night me old man 
gets plastered downtown. The bartender lugs him over to 
the Sixth Avenue El. 



Allen. — And puts him on a train. 



BEST BROADCASTS OF 1938-39 

Min. — Carries him on, mister. He’s stiff. 

Allen. — What happens ? 

Min. — When the train pulls in to Twenty-thoid Street, the 
conductor rolls him down the stairs into me arms. . . . 
He’s home. 

Allen. — What will you do next Saturday night ? 

Min. — The subway guard can’t roll him up the stairs. I’ll be 
waitin’ there to carry him home. 

Allen. — Are you strong enough to lift that load ? 

Min. — I’ll just carry me husband. He’ll be carrying the load. 

Allen. — Thank you. New York’s oldest inhabitant has his say 
about the El. Grandpa Creep. 

Announcer. — (As old man) I said, “She won’t last.” When I 
seen the El goin’ up in ’78 . . . I said, “She won’t last.” 
Well, it only goes to show . . . 

Allen. — To show what, Gramp ? 

Announcer. — If ye live long enough, nothin’ won’t last. 

Allen. — H ave you lived in New York all your life ? 

Announcer. — Not yet, no. I been here 90 years. 

Allen. — I guess you’ve seen many changes in the city. 

Announcer. — Lord, yes. I remember A 1 Smith way back before 
his derby faded. 

Allen. — Y ou don’t say. 

Announcer. — I can remember the Aquarium when it was 
nothin’ but a room full of bait. 

Allen. — That’s going back. 

Announcer. — I can remember Tammany Hall when ’twam’t 
nothin’ but a Democrat hidin’ in a doorway. 

Allen. — And you . . . 

Announcer. — I says, “They won’t last.” And they ain’t, have 
they? 

Allen. — No. 

218 



TOWN HALL TONIGHT 



Announcer. — It’s like I say. Ef ye live long enough, nothin’ 
won’t last. 

Allen. — Isn’t there anything in New York that will last, Gramp ? 

Announcer. — Just one thing, son. 

Allen. — What ? 

Announcer. — That show, “Tobacco Road.’’ 

Allen. — Why do you think “Tobacco Road” will last forever? 

Announcer. — Tobacco’s habit formin’. 

Allen. — What are you going to use now that the Sixth Avenue 
El is down, Gramp ? 

Announcer. — Nothin’, son. I ain’t goin’ no place. 

Allen. — Aren’t we aU . . . and thank you, Grampa Creep. 
And now the Town Hall News brings you the dramatic 
speech that sealed the Sixth Avenue Elevated’s doom. 
The scene . . . the recent Board of Estimate meeting. 
A delegate is pleading. 

John. — Gentlemen of the Board of Estimate, I beg you not to 
remove this structure. What is your answer, gentlemen ? 

Von Zell. — Get the El out of New York! 

Music. — Fanfare. 

Allen. — And now the Merry Macs reach into their musical 
oven to bring out a little hot confection for you. It’s called 
“Patty Cake.” 

Merry Macs. — ‘'Patty Cake.” {Applause) 

Allen. — {Ad lib thank you’s) Tonight, ladies and gentlemen . . . 
we inaugurate our Something-Must-Be-Done-about-Some- 
of-the-People-Who-Go-to-the-Movies Department in charge 
of our own Mr. Tater. Mr. Tater sounds off with several 
specific complaints. Complaint number one . . . 

John. — Feathers! The high feathers on women’s hats! The 
other night I saw Marie Antoinette in technicolor, and 
with all those feathers I thought it was an Indian picture ! 

Allen. — {Helpfully) Why not take along a pair of scissors and 
snip your way out of that feathered shrubbery ? What else ? 



2IQ 



BEST BROADCASTS OF 1938-39 

John. — Knee bumpers! Those lame brains who keep bumping 
the back of your chair with their nervous knees. There ought 
to be a law! 

Allen. — Definitely. Meanwhile a hot foot will keep them on 
the inactive list. Anything else ? 

John. — Yes . . . coughers and sneezers 1 Just at the ka-roo-shul 
part of the picture . . . whango! . . . Somebody starts 
to cough or sneeze, and the love scene sounds like an air 
raid! 

Fred. — I know. . . . It’s very trying. But that particular group 
needs sympathy rather than censure. After all, nobody can 
help catching cold. 

John. — Well, they ought to do something about their colds. I’d 
certainly like to tell them a thing or two. 

Von Zell. — Well, the best thing you could tell them would be 
to get after their colds immediately. ... Tell them how to 
fight a cold two ways at once with sparkling Sal Hepatica. 
For, as so many physicians will tell you . . . 

House. — You can often throw off a cold more quickly if, at its 
very beginning, you do two fundamental things . . . remove 
accumulated wastes . . . and help Nature counteract the 
acidity that so frequently accompanies a cold. 

Von Zell. — And ladies and gentlemen, Sal Hepatica was espe- 
cially made to do those very things and to do them promptly. 
As a laxative, it brings quick yet gentle relief . . . and at 
the same time ... it also helps Nattire coimteract acidity. 
So do the wise thing. . . . Get a bottle of Sal Hepatica 
at any drugstore tomorrow . . . and show yotir family 
this modem way to fight a cold . . . with Sal Hepatica. 

Music. — “The Skaters' Waltz." (Applause) 

Allen. — That was “The Skaters’ Waltz,” played by the Sonja 
Henie of icestros, Peter Van Steeden and his Ipana Whatcha 
MacalUts. And now, ladies and gentlemen, tonight I know 
you didn’t expect to meet . . . 

Von Zell. — Well, what are we in for this evening, Fred? 

Allen. — Do you believe in mental telepathy. 

Von Zell. — Mental telepathy? What brought that up, Fred? 



220 



TOWN HALL TONIGHT 



Allen. — It may surprise you to know, Mr. Von Zell, that during 
the past few weeks I have been taking a course in mental 
telepathy through the mail. 

Von Zell. — Fred . . . you can’t . . . 

Allen. — You are talking to a man, Mr. Von ZeU, who is skilled 
in thought transference. At this very moment I can com- 
municate impressions from my mind to the mind of any 
person in this studio without recourse to physical channels. 

Von Zell. — You’re not kidding me, Fred. 

Allen. — All right. I’ll prove it to you, Harry. I’m not looking 
at Peter Van Steeden, am I ? 

Von Zell. — No. 

Allen. — He can’t hear me right now, can he ? 

Von Zell. — No. 

Allen. — I’m going to send Peter a thought. Watch him. 

Music. — “ Says My Heart” . . . first three notes . . . stops short. 

Allen. — How was that ? 

Von Zell. — Oh, there’s something screwy around here. I saw it, 
and I still don’t believe it. 

Allen. — All right. Watch the Merry Macs. I’ll send them a 
thought. 

Merry Macs. — “A Tisket, a Tasket.” 

Allen. — Well, my skeptical behttler, are you convinced now? 

Von Zell. — You’ll never convince me, Fred, until you send me a 
thought message. 

Allen. — All right, Mr. Von Zell. Here is your thought. 

Von Zell. — I get it. So long, Fred. 

Sound. — Door slam. 

Allen. — You have just seen this wonderful demonstration, ladies 
and gentlemen. But our guest tonight makes me look like 
a novice. We are going to interview a yotmg man who can 
transfer his thought impressions to the mind of a dog. 
The dog doesn’t actually talk, but any stranger can ask 



221 



BEST BROADCASTS OF 1938-39 

him a question and through a process of thought transference 
between the trainer and the animal an answer is given in 
barks. 

And so, ladies and gentlemen, tonight I know you didn’t 
expect to meet this human canine . . . King. And his best 
friend and trainer, Mr. Lew Miller. Good evening, Mr. Miller. 

Lew. — Good evening, Fred. 

Allen. — Do you mind if I shake hands with King ? 

Lew. — No. Go right ahead. 

Allen. — Say . . . that’s mighty democratic of him. A lot of 
dogs are high-hat these days. 

Lew. — King’s a regular guy, Fred. 

Allen. — What breed of dog is he, Mr. Miller ? 

Lew. — He’s a German shepherd. 

Allen. — Uncle Jim tells me that any stranger can ask King a 
question. And that, after you have conveyed the thought 
to him, without speaking, the dog will answer correctly. 

Lew. — T hat is true, Fred. 

Allen. — Do you mind if I try him out ? 

Lew. — No. Go right ahead, Fred. 

Allen. — Fine. I’ll start him on something easy. King, how many 
letters are there in the word “Ipana” ? Tell me, King. {Dog 
barks five times) That is correct ! Absolutely correct ! King is 
probably the first dog to ever bark a commercial from coast 
to coast. 

Lew. — Ask him something else, Fred. 

Allen. — All right. King, what time did this program go on the 
air tonight. Eastern Standard Time? {Dog barks nine times) 
Nine is right. And beautifully barked, too. Nice pear- 
shaped tones. Tell me, Mr. Miller, will King bark “Yes” or 
“No” to a question? 

Lew. — If I explain it to him first, he’ll be glad to oblige. 

Allen. — Fine. Will you tell the old boy ? 



222 



TOWN HALL TONIGHT 



Lew. — King! Three barks mean “Yes.” Two barks, “No.” 
Have you got that ? {Dog harks three times) 

Allen. — Yes! We’re all set. Three barks for “Yes,” two for 
“No.” O.K., King. Have you ever been on the air before? 
{Dog harks twice) No! I see. Would you like to have a nice 
sustaining program of your own ? {Dog harks twice) 

Allen. — You wouldn’t, eh? How about one with a thin, bony 
sponsor? {Dog harks three times) King is not only smart, 
Mr. Miller. He’s a good businessman, too. 

Lew. — Yes, King is no fool, Fred. 

Allen. — I wouldn’t be surprised if he did get a program of his 
own. I might end up working for King. 

Lew. — I don’t think so, Fred. 

Allen. — Say ... I worked for Katz one time in Chicago. 
Balaban and Katz. If I can work for Katz I can work for 
dogs. Tell me, Mr. Miller, how long have you had this foiur- 
footed intellectual ? This caninestein ? 

Lew. — Since he was three months old. He’s a little over six now. 

Allen. — How were you able to establish this psychic bond 
between you two ? 

Lew. — Well, it was a long process, Fred. When King was a pup I 
started training him to respond to the various intona- 
tions of my voice. 

Allen. — And now he will react to yoxir commands without 
signals of any sort. 

Lew. — Exactly. 

Allen. — Have you introduced King to the public yet ? 

Lew. — Yes. We’ve been at the Roxy, the Brooklyn Strand, and 
the Midnight Sun Night Club. 

Allen. — And King’s I.Q. hasn’t faltered under the strain. 

Lew. — No, Fred. He does four or five shows a day and never 
makes a mistake. 

Allen. — When I was in vaudeville all of the dogs in dog acts 
knew me. I was always billed so low that dogs kept bumping 



223 



BEST BROADCASTS OF 1938-39 

their noses into my name as they passed the front of the 
theatre. Is King planning to do any stage work in the near 
future ? 

Lew. — Why yes, Fred, King is opening tonight. 

Allen. — Where ? 

Lew. — At the Rainbow Room, upstairs. 

Allen. — A dog at the Rainbow Room? Is he wearing a white 
leash ? 

Lew. — No. They’re letting King dress informal. 

Allen. — His breath will come in Ttixedo pants, of course. Have 
you another dog to succeed King, if he shows up some day 
with a nervous breakdown ? 

Lew. — No, Fred. I’m training his son to succeed him now. 

Allen. — What is King’s son’s name . . . Prince ? 

Lew. — N o. It’s Silver. 

Allen. — Silver, eh? Why, you may be the Lone Ranger of 
tomorrow, Mr. Miller. But King is dozing off. . . . How 
about a couple of more questions ? 

Lew. — Go right ahead, Fred. Get ready, King. 

Allen. — Fine. I think I’ll try him out on politics this time. 
King, how many states voted Republican in the last presi- 
dential election? {Dog harks twice) Right. I don’t want to 
ask him how many voted Democratic, Mr. Miller. He’U be 
here barking for the rest of the night. 

Lew. — It’s all right, Fred. When there are two digits in the 
answer he’ll bark the first digit and stop. Then bark the 
second. 

Allen. — A lightning calculator, eh ? All right. King. . . . How 
many states voted Democratic in 1936? {Dog harks four 
times . . . then six) Forty-six. Mr. Farley himself couldn’t 
have done any better. 

Lew. — King is always right, Fred. 

Allen. — Well . . . election questions would be easy. Every dog 
is an authority on polls. I’ll see if I can double-cross him this 



224 



TOWN HALL TONIGHT 



time. King, how many men are here at the microphone? 
{Dog barks twice) Correct. How many good-looking men? 
{Dog harks once) I wonder which one of us he meant, Mr. 
Miller? 

Lew. — K ing never tells a lie, Fred. 

Allen. — I get it. ... I lose again, eh? Even the dogs are wise 
to me. Now, just one more question, Mr. Miller. I’ll make it 
a killer-diller. King, how many new jokes have you heard 
on the program tonight ? {Pause) Come on, boy. How many 
new jokes? Give us the digits. {Pause) I think he’s giving 
me the digit . . . Mr. Miller. 

Lew. — T hat’s his answer, Fred. 

Allen. — H e’s too smart for me. Well, thank you a lot for this 
doggy little chat, Mr. Miller . . . and thanks a million. 
King. 

Lew. — G ood night, Fred. Say good night. King. {Dog barks . . . 
applause) 

Allen. — T he Town Hall Singers, under the direction of L5m 
Murray, sing “Joshua Fit the Battle of Jericho.’’ 

Music . — “Joshua Fit the Battle of Jericho” {Town Hall Quartet). 
{Applause) 

Allen. — {Ad lib thank you’s) And now, ladies and gentlemen, a 
little item left over from the Town Hall News. A little fan- 
fare, Peter. . . {Town Hall fanfare . . . one cornet) A new 
restaurant is soon to be opened where your order for dinner 
is conveyed direct to the kitchen by means of a microphone. 
How’s that for scientific progress ? 

VoN Zell. — Y ou mean a mike at every table, Fred? 

Allen. — E xactly. 

VoN Zell. — N o waiter to breathe down your neck while you’re 
trying to decide whether to order something you want or 
something you know the French for ? 

Allen. — No, Harry . . . just a microphone. You pitch your 
voice in a melodious key, speak into the microphone, and 
order like this. . . . Calling all chefs . . . calling aU chefs 
. . . you over there by the gas range . . . creamed chicken 
. . . mashed potatoes . . . and rice pudding. . . . That is 
aU. 



225 



BEST BROADCASTS OF 1938-39 



Man. — (O n filter . . . same tone) Very good, sir . . . but, of 
course, you realize those are all soft, creamy foods . . . 
so don’t forget . . . Ipana Toothpaste and massage . . . 
that is all. 

Allen. — S ay . . . what’s the big idea ? 

Von Zell. — W hy, it’s a grand idea, Fred, to help anyone to 
have a winning smile . . . Ipana and massage. Maybe, 
ladies and gentlemen . . . you haven’t stopped to realize 
how important massage is to sound teeth and healthy gums. 
Our gums certainly don’t get the stimulation they need 
from the soft, well-cooked foods we eat. So they are naturally 
apt to become tender and, consequently, more susceptible 
to gum trouble. That’s why, like so many dentists, we 
earnestly suggest this easy, modem routine. . . . 

House. — E very time you bmsh your teeth with Ipana Tooth- 
paste . . . put a little extra Ipana on your finger tip or 
your toothbrush . . . and massage it on your gums. 

Von Zell. — F or Ipana is especially designed, when used with 
massage, to help stimulate and strengthen your gums . . . 
as well as to- clean and brighten your teeth. And since 
healthier gums and sparkling teeth always add up to a far 
more attractive smile . . . you can readily understand why 
more and more people every day are depending on Ipana 
and massage. So stop at any drugstore tomorrow for an 
economical tube of Ipana Toothpaste. 

Music . — “Could You Pass in Love.” 

(Fade) 

Von Zell. — T own Hall Tonight resumes immediately after a 
short pause for your station announcement. 

(Station break) 

Music . — Up to finish. 

Pete. — A nd now while your local announcer sits down for 
another half hour, la^es and gentlemen, we return you to 
the Old Town Hall. On Friday night . . . 

Portland. — H ello. 

Pete. — W ell. If it isn’t Portland. (Applause) 

Portland. — P eter! What are you doing here? 

226 



TOWN HALL TONIGHT 



Pete. — C lowning as usual. Ha! Ha! You know me, Forty. 

Portland. — B ut where’s Mr. Allen? 

Pete. — W ho cares? Come on, Forty. How about a couple of 
quick gags. Did you hear the one about the two Irishmen 

Portland. — H arry! Oh, Harry! 

Von Zell. — Y es, Forty. What’s the matter ? Is something wrong ? 

Portland. — M r. Allen isn’t here, Harry. 

Von Zell. — H e isn’t ? 

Pete. — W ho needs him? I can take care of the comedy. Did you 
hear the one about the two Irishmen . . . 

Von Zell. — S ay! Where is Fred, Peter? 

Pete. — I locked him out. 

Von Zell. — Y ou what ? 

Pete. — Y es. He stepped out to take a smoke, and I locked the 
door. He’ll see who’s the comedian tonight. Two Irish- 
men . . . 

Sound. — Door rattles. 

Allen. — {Muffled) Hey, let me in. It’s Allen! 

Sound. — Door rattles. 

Portland. — Y ou’d better let Mr. Allen in, Peter. 

Pete. — N ever mind, Allen. . . . Get this gag. . . . Two Irish- 
men met on the street. One Irishman said, “My sister 
married a man from Dublin.’’ The second Irishman said, 
“Oh, really.’’ And the first Irishman said, “No, O’Reilly.” 

Sound. — Knocks on door. 

Allen. — H ey ! Quit telling those corny gags. . . . Let me in ! 

Sound. — Knocks on door. 

Announcer. — H ere ! Here ! What’s going on in this studio ? 

Portland. — M r. Allen is locked out. 

Announcer. — I’ ll let him in. 



227 



BEST BROADCASTS OF 1938-39 

Sound. — Door opens . 

Announcer. — There, it’s open. Come in, Mr. Allen. 

Allen. — Thanks. 

Announcer. — If you get locked out again, just call on me. 

Allen. — You work here at NBC? 

Announcer. — Yes. I’m vice-president in charge of keyholes. 

Allen. — If I have trouble with a keyhole . . . 

Announcer. — Just call me. I’ll look into it. 

Sound. — Door closes . 

Allen. — Now, who locked that door? Who locked me out? 
Don’t look so innocent, you three. 

Portland. — Don’t look at me, Mr. Allen. 

Allen. — No. You couldn’t have done it, Portland. If you had 
locked the door you’d have locked yourself out. What about 
you, Mr. Von Zell ? 

Von Zell. — Not me, Fred. 

Allen. — That’s all I wanted to know. Van Steeden, you are so 
low I can’t even call you down. 

Pete. — Watch those cracks, Allen. I wouldn’t take that kind of 
talk from a relative. 

Allen. — You and that hair do. Yoim head looks like a ferret’s 
hip in a high wind. 

Portland. — Peter was only fooling, Mr. Allen. 

Von Zell. — Yes. Pete didn’t mean any harm, Fred. 

Allen. — He locked me out, didn’t he ? Where did he get the key ? 
He couldn’t get the right key from that orchestra of his. 

Pete. — Why, I ought to ptiU your nose down and hook it imder 
your chin. 

Allen. — Why, you walking faux pas. 

Pete. — Speak English, Allen. 

Allen. — All right ... I will speak English. You four-bar rest 
in the World of Music. You’re through. Van Steeden. 

228 



TOWN HALL TONIGHT 



Pete. — Says you! Sam! 

John. — Yeah, maestro. 

Allen. — Just a minute . . . who are you? The trombone 
player ? 

John. — And accidentally, on the side. I’m the union delegate. 

Pete. — He says I’m fired, Sam. 

John. — Quit kiddin’, Allen. You know what that means. 

Allen. — What ? 

JoHN.^ — You fire Van Steeden, the Musician’s Union pulls every 
musician out, from Toscanini to Borrah Minnevitch. 

Announcer. — Fred Allen’s unfair to organized . . . 

John. — Not yet, Joe. 

Announcer. — O.K., Sam. I’ll stand by. 

Allen. — Union or no union. You can’t strong-arm me. 

John. — You can’t fire Van Steeden, Allen. The union says you 
gotta give him 4 years’ notice. 

Allen. — Four years ? The President only gets 4 years’ notice. 

John. — You ain’t firin’ the President, Allen. You’re firin’ Van 
Steeden. 

Allen. — All right, I’m not firing him. But I’m through with 
him socially. 

John. — O.K., Joe, let’s get back to our instruments. 

Announcer. — O.K., Sam. 

Portland. — Gosh, I’m glad that’s settled, Mr. Allen. 

Von Zell. — Yes, Fred. Now we’re all one big happy family 
again. 

Allen. — Why, I go through this every Wednesday. I turned 
down a job in Hollywood this week. . . . The Hardy 
Family wants to adopt a boy. I could have had it. 

Portland. — You wouldn’t leave radio, would you, Mr. Allen? 



22Q 



BEST BROADCASTS OF 1938-39 

Allen. — Why wouldn’t I ? My own band picketing me . . . 
Benny picking on me last Simday . . . after I invited him 
to dinner. . . . 

Portland. — Do you really have laundry hanging up in your 
dining room, Mr. Allen? 

Allen. — ^Laundry? I had a moving picture sheet hanging back 
of the table. 



Von Zell. — What for, Fred ? | 

Allen. — I was going to show Benny his new picture. I knew \ 
he’d lose his appetite. For dinner I’d only serve coffee. ... ; 

Portland. — Did you ever have dinner at Jack’s house, Mr. 

Allen ? 

Allen. — And what a dinner! It looked like something he took 1 

away from a Boy Scout. When the flies saw how little was ( 

on the table, they started wiping their feet on the plates \ 
to help out. i 

T 



Von Zell. — What did Jack serve, Fred? 

Allen. — The appetizer was filet of anchovy. 

Von Zell. — Filet of anchovy. They’re pretty small, aren’t 
they, Fred? 

Allen. — Small? They look like damp hyphens. Benny served 
them with a magnifying glass and tweezers. 

Portland. — Did Jack have soup? 

Allen. — Clam chowder, but the clam was out on location. It 
had a stand-in that night. The meat course was roast beef 
sliced so thin it looked Hke a wet glow on the plate. 

Von Zell. — What was dessert, Fred? 

Allen. — A Good Humor man nmning through the house if you 
could catch him. 

Portland. — I guess Jack has changed a lot since he went to 
Hollywood. 

Allen. — I’ll say he’s changed . . . sitting on the front steps of 
the Sherry- Netherlands . . . whittling all day. . . . 

Portland. — Is Jack really a Beverly Hill billy, Mr. Allen ? 



230 



TOWN HALL TONIGHT 



Allen. — I won’t say he looks like a rube, but I will say that 
walking up Broadway he got pulled into three auctions and 
two dance halls. 

Von Zell. — Gosh, Jack is certainly slipping. 

Allen. — He’s holding his own financially. And how he’s holding 
his own. 

Portland. — You’re cheaper than Jack, aren’t you, Mr. Allen? 

Allen. — Compared to Benny I’m a conservative philanthropist. 
He’s so tight his tongue looks like a bookmark. You didn’t 
hear Rochester on his program Stmday night, did you? 

Von Zell. — Say, that’s right, Fred. Rochester was missing. 

Allen. — And you know why ? 

Portland. — Why, Mr. Allen? 

Allen. — To save one fare from Hollywood, Benny made Roches- 
ter work his way East as a porter. 

Von Zell. — What happened? 

Allen. — Rochester found out he could make more money in 
tips than he could make on the program. He signed with 
the Pullman Company. 

John. — Say. Just a minute, Allen. 

Allen. — Oh. Are you back from the Musicians’ Union? 

John. — Yeah. Van Steeden just registered another complaint. 

Portland. — Did you, Peter ? 

Pete. — You bet. Jack Benny’s a violin player. Nobody can pan 
a brother musician in front of me. 

John. — You better lay off, Allen, or the union’s pullin’ out 
every musician from Toscanini to Ben Bemie. 

Allen. — What became of Borrah Minnevitch ? 

John. — He pulled himself out to make room for Bemie. 

Pete. — I’ve a good mind to pull the band out anyway. 

Allen. — If they follow you it’ll be the first time since you’ve 
been on the program. 



231 



BEST BROADCASTS OF 1938-39 



Pete. — O h, yeah? Sam! 

John. — O.K. And another thing, Allen. From now on Van 
Steeden’s tellin’ half the jokes on this program. 

Allen. — A nd if he doesn’t . . . 

John. — J oe . . . 

Announcer. — F red Allen’s \mfair. . . . 

Allen. — T hat’s the last straw. There’s only one thing I can do. 
In self-defense I always resort to mental telepathy. 

Von Zell. — N ot that, Fred. 

Allen. — Y ou saw me work with King, Harry. Van Steeden and 
those guys have caused me enough trouble tonight. I’m 
sending out some thought waves pronto. Get ready, all 
three of you. 

Pete. — {Barks). 

Allen. — M usic, Portland. 

Portland. — O ne, two, boys. . . . {Applause) 

Allen. — A nd now the Merry Macs revive an old favorite that 
was popular when swing was something only a hammock did. 
The song, “Ta Ra Ra Boom Te Ay! 

Merry Macs. — “Ta Ra Boom. {Applause) 

Allen. — {Ad lib thank you's) Ladies and gentlemen ... as we 
thumb our way through life, we seem to meet up with a 
lot of signs nowadays . . . the street sign, the traffic sign, 
and the Indian sign. There’s even the high sign . . . and 
right now, I’m giving that to Harry Von Zell. Speak up, 
Harry. . . . 

Von Zell. — W ell ... I would like to speak up, ladies and 
gentlemen, about one sign that should never be neglected 
. . . the first sign of a cold. It’s wise to get after that 
cold immediately with Sal Hepatica . . . because Sal 
Hepatica is an ideal laxative for fighting colds. But very 
often there are things that go along with a cold that are 
mighty uncomfortable. ... You know, that stuffed-up 
feeling in your nose and throat ... or a tightness in your 
chest muscles. Well . . . that’s the time to use Minit-Rub 
... a new and better way to help bring quick relief. You 



232 



TOWN HALL TONIGHT 



spell it this way . . . M-I-N-I-T-R-U-B. . . . You use it 
this way. . . . 

House. — Just squeeze a little Minit-Rub from the tube into the 
palm of your hand and rub it briskly on your chest. And 
right away Minit-Rub’s counterirritant and pain-relieving 
actions start soothing those aching muscles. At the same 
time, Minit-Rub gives off effective vapors that help clear 
away that aggravating, stuffed-up feeling in your nose and 
throat. 

So get a tube of greaseless, stainless Minit-Rub from 
any druggist tomorrow. It’s very inexpensive. Show your 
family two modem ways to fight their colds . . . internally 
with Sal Hepatica . . . externally with Minit-Rub. 

Music. — “Night before Christmas.” {Singers and orchestra). 
(Applause) 

Allen. — And now, ladies and gentlemen, the termitey Allen Art 
Players. Tonight they bring you another mral court session. 
It’s called “Hillbilly Justice” . . . or . . . “The Judge 
Refused to Open the Case until Somebody Brought Him a 
Chaser.” Overture, Peter! 

Music. — “She’ll he Cornin’ Round the Mountain.” (Hum of 
voices) 

Announcer. — Rise, mbes! His Honor, Jedge Allen! 

Allen. — Hi, rubes! 

All. — Hi, Jedge. 

Sound. — Gavel. 

Allen. — Order in the court. Put yer shoes on, ladies! Pike’s 
Puddle County Court is hereby open and in session. Fust 
case! 

Announcer. — Rubes of . . . 

Allen. — Hold on, clerk. There’s a draft in court. Whar is it ? 

Announcer. — There’s a big hole in back of yer robe, Jedge. 

Allen. — Ayar ? 

Announcer. — Ayar. 



233 



BEST BROADCASTS OF 1938-39 

Allen. — Ayar is right, and it’s assumin’ the proportions of a 
lumber zephjrr. I was sittin’ on that sawmill case yestiddy. 
Musta tore my robe. 

All. — {Laugh) 

Sound. — Gavel. 

Allen. — Order in the court. Fust case. Taunton Caudle! 

Announcer. — {Drunk) Right on deck, Jedge, old boy. 

Allen. — Drunk again, hey, Taimton? 

Announcer. — No. Thish is the same old bun, Jedge. 

Allen. — And I’m a-givin’ yer the same old sentence, Tatmton. 
Thirty days. 

Sound. — Gavel. 

Allen. — Next case. Happy Times Trio! 

Three Boys. — Here, Your Honor. 

Allen. — Charge says ye’ve been singin’ in back yards. Disturbin’ 
the peace. 

Von Zell. — We’re workin’ our way to New York, Judge. 
Allen. — How come yer minstrelin’ in alleys ? 

John. — We’re all that’s left of Unit Number One, Judge. 

Allen. — And yer singin’ in back yards. 

Von Zell. — Yeah. We run outta theatres and church basements. 
John. — Our singin’ don’t disturb the peace. Judge. Honest. 
Allen. — Court’s ready to hear yer evidence. What’s yer song? 
Von Zell. — “Ireland Must Be Heaven.’’ 

John. — Let’s go, fellers. 

Three Boys. — {Sing) Ireland must be heaven, ’cause my mother 
came from there. 

Sound. — Gavel. 

Allen. — Thirty days, boys, and don’t appeal the chorus. Next 
case! 



234 



TOWN HALL TONIGHT 



Announcer. — People of Pike’s Puddle versus Titus Prouty. 
Charge is imurder. 

Allen. — Murder? Hot ziggetty! 

Announcer. — Yep. Charge says Titus killed a vaudeville actor 
at Sloppy Mary’s Boardin’house. 

Allen. — Guilty, or did everythin’ go black, Titus ? 

John. — He stole my girl. Then tried to kill me, Jedge. 

Allen. — Who was this small time Casanova ? 

John. — Professor Snake, Jedge. Called hisself a snake charmer. 
I was his mongoose. . . . I’d do it all over again. 

Allen. — Cotirt’ll hear yer say later, Titus. Stand down. 

John. — I’d do it aU over again. 

Allen. — It’s too late fer retakes, Titus. Stand down. Fust 
witness. 

Announcer. — Sloppy Mary. 

Doug. — Present, Jedge. 

Allen. — Yer operatin’ the boardin’ house where the habeas was 
corpused. 

Doug. — I’m hostess and owner of Sloppy Mary’s Bide a Wee Inn. 
Special rates to actors. 

Allen. — What happened? 

Doug. — Well, Sunday night this dude checks in single. 

Allen. — How’d ye sense he was a dude ! 

Doug. — He was wearin’ red velvet spats and a wampum watch 
fob. 

Allen. — Ascot tie ? 

Doug. — And a horseshoe pin. Down his vest it was rainin’ Elks’ 
teeth. 

Allen. — He tuk yer best room, I reckin’. 

Doug. — Yep. Number seven. One bowl and two pitchers. 

Allen. — Did he let on he was a snake manipulator ? 



235 



BEST BROADCASTS OF 1938-39 

Doug. — Ayer. Said he had 20 trained snakes in the bag. 

Allen. — Snakes alive! 

Doug. — Yep. Twenty of ’em. 

Allen. — L ord! Twenty of ’em. ... A man coiild save a lotta 
drinkin’ jest openin’ that little bag and lookin’ in. 

Doug. — ’Tain’t fer me to say, Jedge. 

Allen. — No, ’tain’t. Now, what about the murder? 

Doug. — It was jealousy, Jedge. Emmy Suggs, the schoolmarm, 
is my prize boarder. She was Titus’ intended. 

Allen. — The dude started pitchin’ woo at Emmy, eh ? 

Doug. — He was pitchin’, and Emmy was catchin’. Titus seen he 
was losin’ his patootie, so he plugged the dude. 

Allen. — That’s all ye know ? 

Doug. — A ll I know is I’m stuck with a body, a bill, and 20 trained 
snakes. 

Allen. — Snakes still at yer boardinghouse, eh ? 

Doug. — Yep. I’m holdin’ ’em till their bill is paid. I got ’em all 
knotted into a reptile daisy chain. 

Allen. — Mighty slick. 

Doug. — Ef ye need any venom, gimme a call, Jedge. 

Allen. — Sure will. Stand down, Mary. (Gavel.) Next witness. 
Sheriff. 

Announcer. — Emmy Suggs, the schoolmarm! 

John. — I’ d do it all over agin, Jedge. 

Sound. — Gavel. 

Allen. — Order in the court. We don’t want no double feature 
killin’ Titus. Next thing we know court’ll be havin’ Black- 
stone Bingo . . . (laughs) . . . Blackstone Bingo. I’ll have 
to pull that on the Ozark Bar Association. Ha! Ha! (Gavel) 
Order in the court. And that goes fer me, too, Emmy Suggs. 

Min. — P resent. 

236 



TOWN HALL TONIGHT 



Allen. — What do you know about the prisoner at the bar ? 

Min. — At the bar he kin hold his licker better’n you kin, Jedge. 

Allen. — Court ain’t here to brag, Trull. 

Min. — I seen you so full yer false teeth was treadin’ licker to stay 
in. 

Allen. — The court ain’t on trial, Emmy. It’s Titus. You and 
him was weldin’ jowls on occasion. 

Min. — Yep. Titus has been sweet -talkin’ me 15 years, Jedge. 
I gave him the best years of my life. 

Allen. — What’s he give you ? 

Min. — A receipt. 

Allen. — Wal, when did the demised dude rear his pretty head? 

Min. — I fell in love with him fust night at the dinner table, Jedge. 

Allen. — His fancy manners catched yer eye, eh ? 

Min. — Yep. We was both reachin’ for the potatoes. His hand 
closed over mine on the same potato. 

Allen. — What follered ? 

Min. — I reddened. And he withdrew. 

Allen. — Mighty polite. 

Min. — He was polite all through dinner. Always tippin’ his hat 
’fore passin’ anuthin’. 

Allen. — Jest like Emily Post says. 

Min. — He was jest reekin’ with manners, Jedge. Hidin’ his 
prune stones in the gravy. Puttin’ his peas in his celery 
and rollin’ them down into his mouth. 

Allen. — That’s ring-tail eatin’, sure enough. 

Min. — When the coffee come, he didn’t blow on it, Jedge. 

Allen. — No ? 

Min. — Not him. He whipped a little fan out of his pocket and 
waved it over the coffee. He carried a fan jest fer his coffee. 
That’s savoy fairy, Jedge. 



237 



BEST BROADCASTS OF 1938-39 

Allen. — Watch yer pixy talk, Emmy. When did you two start 
talkin’ ? 

Min. — He borrowed my toothpick after dinner. That broke the 
ice. 

Allen. — And he took yer to the show. 

Min. — Every evenin’ I was down to the Bijou watchin’ his snake 
act. 

Allen. — Professor Snake reciprocate this affection ? 

Min. — He sure did. Friday night, after the show, six snakes 
come a-wiggUn’ into my room to spell out, “I love you.” 
Them snakes never thought of that. It was him. 

Allen. — Weren’t yer boy friend, Titus, jealous? 

Min. — Titus was in a swivet, Jedge. 

Allen. — When did the fighting start ? 

Min. — Saturday night. I was in the sink bathin’. Titus and the 
Dude had words at the dinner table. Next thing I know, 
Titus had shot the dude. 

John. — (OJO I’d do it all over again, Jedge. 

Sound. — Gavel. 

Allen. — Order in the court, Titus. Quit that repeatin’, Lord! 
You musta been weaned on bicarbonate. Who broke the 
news to ye ’bout the kiUin’, Emmy? 

Min. — Old Lucius Bilk. Lucius is Sloppy Mary’s star boarder. 
Sits to the head of the table. 

Allen. — ^Lucius Bilk here in court ? 

Announcer. — (A.5 old man) I seen the whole thing, Jedge. 

Allen. — How did it start, Lucius ? 

Announcer. — Wal, Saturday night all us boarders was eating 
dinner. The Saturday special. 

Allen. — What’s that ? 

Announcer. — Ozark squab. 

Allen. — Ozark squab ? 

238 



TOWN HALL TONIGHT 



Announcer. — It’s roast owl, Jedge. Dessert was April tapioca. 

Allen. — What’s April tapioca ? 

Announcer. — It’s hailstones cooked into a puddin’. 

Allen. — Jelled rain’s mighty temptin’. But what about the 
murder ? 

Announcer. — Wal. The dude comes walkin’ in late. Titus 
looks up and says, nastylike, “Wal, effen it ain’t the Major 
Bowes of Snakes.’’ 

Allen. — The dude come back ? 

Announcer. — Quick’s a flash. He says, “Snakes ain’t as low 
as some folks.” 

Allen. — That teched off the fracas, eh ? 

Announcer. — Titus up and crowned the dude with the roast 
owl. Dressin’ and all. Lord, his dickey front looked like it 
broke out with gravy measles. 

Allen. — Then . . . 

Announcer. — The dude picks up the lettuce and gives Titus a 
mayonnaise facial. Titus crowns the dude with a stewed 
tomater beret. Then the dude picks up the tureen and 
bean soups Titus from head to foot. 

Allen. — Then what happened ? 

Announcer. — Then they started flghtin’. 

Allen. — Up to this time it was talkin’. 

Announcer. — ^Lord ! The air was so thick with calories I inhaled 
and gained 2 pounds. 

Allen. — You try to break up this menu mayhem, Lucius? 

Announcer. — No, Jedge. I was vmder the table gummin’ the 
roast owl. 

Allen. — And during the fracas the fatal shot was fired ? 

Announcer. — Yessuh. I got short arms, Jedge. ’Twas the fust 
time in 20 years I got white meat at the table. 

John. — {Off) I’d do it all over again, Jedge. 



239 



BEST BROADCASTS OF 1938-39 

Sound. — Gavel. 

Allen. — Order in the court, Titus. You kin stand down, 
Lucius. 

Announcer. — Thank ye, Jedge. {Hiccups) Lord, that owl’s 
hootin’ agin. 

Sound. — Gavel. 

Allen. — The defendant, Tittis Prouty, take the stand. 

John. — I’d do it aU over again, Jedge. 

Allen. — I know, Titus. Ye can’t make a serial outta this murder, 
Titus. Yer here to tell why ye done it the fust time. 

John. — Wal, after me and the dude run outta food, the rowin’ 
died down. 

Allen. — Ye shake hands. 

John. — No. I went upstairs to clean up. 

Allen. — You musta looked like a walkin’ table dotey. 

John. — I was a mess, Jedge. My face looked like a blue plate 
special with a nose. 

Allen. — When’d ye see the dude again ? 

John. — Sloppy Mary, the hostess, comes up and says, “Professor 
Snake wants to see ye in his room, Titus.’’ 

Allen. — Ye suspicioned a trap, eh ? 

John. — That’s jest what it was, Jedge. Lucky I took my shotgun 
with me. 

Allen. — Ye went to the dude’s room? 

John. — I opened the door and says, “Come on. Dude, ef yer a 
buzzard I’m yer carrion.’’ 

Allen. — What’d he say to that ? 

John. — He jest stood there fondlin’ one of his snakes. It musta 
been a black rattler. 

Allen. — It was rattlin’, eh ? 

240 



TOWN HALL TONIGHT 



John. — Like all git out. The dude says, “Titus, let’s let bygones 
be bygones.” “Fust,” I says, “put down that rattlesnake.” 

Allen. — What’d he say to that ? 

John. — He says, “This won’t hurt ye, Titus.” 

Allen. — A yar. 

John. — With that he jabs that rattlin’ viper smack-dab into my 
face, Jedge. 

Allen. — And that’s when ye blazed away. 

John. — It was him or me, Jedge. He was aimin’ to have that 
rattler poison me. 

Allen. — The defunct rattler here in court, clerk? 

Announcer. — Yep. Laid out in this long box, Jedge. Exhibit A. 
Allen. — Lord ! He’s deader’n a shad. 

Announcer. — Don’t tech it, Jedge. 

Allen. — Orneriest lookin’ rattler. . . . All head and skinniest 
body’ I ever seed. 

John. — Might be some northern snake, Jedge. 

Sound. — Gavel. 

Allen. — Anybody here in court from up North Little Rock way ? 
Any stranger in court ? 

Von Zell. — {Off) I’m from New York, Jedge. 

Allen. — Step to the bar, stranger. Can you identify this snake ? 
Von Zell. — I’ll take a look. 

Allen. — Don’t tech the viper. Ef rigor memphis sets in he’ll 
coil yer to death. 

Von Zell. — (Laughs) Well, if this isn’t rich. 

Allen. — Ain’t nothin’ funny bout a rattlesnake. 

Von Zell. — A rattlesnake. Ha. Ha. 

Allen. — Watcha laffin’ about, stranger? 

Von Zell. — This isn’t a snake. 



241 



BEST BROADCASTS OF 1938-39 



Allen. — No. ? 

Announcer. — It’s an electric razor on a cord. 

Allen. — Well, fig dig ma pig. . . . Electric razor. What’s that ? 

Von Zell. — It’s for shaving. Cutting your whiskers. 

Allen. — Ain’t nothin’ sprouts on a man’s face ye can’t git off 
with a sickle, dude. 

Von Zell. — This is a new invention. Judge. If I can find a 
socket I’ll show you how it works. Here’s one on your desk 
here. 

Allen. — Them two little holes. I thought them was termite 
footprints. 

Von Zell. — Watch. I’ll plug the razor in. There! 

Sound. — Electric razor buzzes. 

Allen. — Hold on ! Git that sarpint away ! 

John. — She’s come to life again. I’ll mow her down. 

Sound. — Two shots . . . razor stops. 

Allen. — Nice goin’, Titus. The gol-dane viper nearly had me. 

John. — Plugged him right atween the teeth. 

Allen. — Ye finally got to do it all over agin? 

John. — It was self-defense agin, Jedge. 

Allen. — Sure was. And the court’s dismissing yer murder charge, 
Titus. It was justifiable hamicide. 

John. — It’s homocide, ain’t it,' Jedge? 

Allen. — Professor Snake was an actor, Titus. And killin’ an 
actor is hamicide every time. {Gavel) Court’s adjourned! 
{Applause) ' 

Music. — "Broadway Rhythm.” 

Allen. — ^Ladies and gentlemen . . . before we salute a few 
snickers from next week’s cavalcade of comedy . . . we 
hope ... I would like to thank everyone whose medicine 
cabinet holds our famous products. Because you are making 
all of our Wednesdays together possible by your friendly 
and faithful use of 



242 



TOWN HALL TONIGHT 



Von Zell. — Ipana Toothpaste ... for the smile of beauty . . . 
Sal Hepatica . . . for the smile of health . . . Ipana . . . 
Sal Hepatica. 

Allen. — Thank you, Harry. And don’t forget, ladies and gentle- 
men, next Wednesday evening Town Hall Tonight brings 
you more qtiiz questions. 

Min. — Fred Allen’s teeth. True or false ? 

John. — Get the low-down on Allen’s set on your set next Wed- 
nesday. 

Music. — Chord. 

Allen. — Songs from your Flop Parade! 

Announcer. — (Sings) Till We Beet Again. 

Allen. — Beet ? It’s meet again, isn’t it ? 

Announcer. — I’m a vegetarian. 

Allen. — Oh. 

Music. — Chord. 

Allen. — People you didn’t expect to meet ! 

Von Zell. — A professional Santa Claus. Hang your stockings 
up on your radio, folks. If you want to put your foot in it, 
tune in next Wednesday. 

Music. — Chord. 

Allen. — And music 1 

Music. — "'Smile Darn Yer, Smile.” 



243 



BEST HORROR SHOW 



The Lighth ouse Keepers 

by Paul Cloquemin 
jlslslslslslslslslsjlslslslslslslslslslslsl^^ 

A ll forms of entertainment, not excluding opera and 
. the dance, will always have room for the shivery, the 
macabre, the horrible. Radio has at one time or another 
exploited most of the accepted libraries of good horror and 
has brought to its audiences a considerable number of not 
very literary offerings of its own creation. Some of these 
have been trash, and some have been very exciting fun 
indeed. The hardy perennial of these thrillers is the NBC 
series called Lights Out. After five years it is still plucking 
out eyes, reviving corpses, twisting old ladies’ heads off, 
and branding beautiful coeds every Wednesday night at 
12:30. Its themes range from cannibalism to necrophilia 
and to subjects even less roly-poly than these. In its first 
two years of production it delivered many outstanding 
shows, but with the passing of its two best authors — one 
(Willis Cooper) to Hollywood, and the other (Arch Oboler) 
to radio free-lance writing — the series has not been able 
to recapture the thumbscrew fancy of its earlier work. It is 
still a good show, and it commands a tremendous audience ; 
but it is not so horrible as it used to be. 

At CBS, competitive interest in NBC’s stranglehold on 
the horror market took shape in a series called Terror by 
Night. This failed and was withdrawn from the air after 
twenty-six weeks. But during this period the unique 
Grand Guignol library of horror plays was carefully ex- 
plored. One hundred and seventy of the original French 
versions of these plays were purchased and translated. The 
great majority of them turned out to be unsuitable for air 
performance because of their themes, but three or four — 
classics in their stage versions — were highly workable. One 
of these, “The Lighthouse Keepers,’’ was adapted for radio 



244. 



THE LIGHTHOUSE KEEPERS 



by the continuity staff and performed by the Columbia 
Workshop on September 12, 1938. It is remembered as one 
of the Workshop’s most intense and gripping thrillers of 
their three years of production. It was Columbia’s first 
experience with the half-hour two-character drama and 
perhaps the only example in the history of the industry 
thus far. 

With only two characters to work with, the play would 
seem to have every chance to go fiat before its dramatic 
finish. But the three major ingredients of good horror — 
pacing, suspense, and atmosphere — appear in “The Light- 
house Keepers’’ to a degree unrivaled by anything pro- 
duced in this division. 



245 



The Lighthouse Keepers’ 



iUUUUULO-QJLgJiJLiUi-OJiJiJUUUULaJUUUUUUUULa^ 

Setting. — The living quarters of the Maudit Lighthouse, 
6 miles off the west coast of Brittany. The room is circu- 
lar and is located just below the lantern floor of the light- 
house. It is 150 feet above the sea. It is roughly furnished. 
The walls are hung with rope coils, life preservers, signal 
flags, and lanterns. On stage are two couches, two chairs, a 
small oil stove, and a stool. Stage right is a control box . . . 
the electric switches for turning on and off the mechanism 
by which the light is revolved. The hght itself bums oil, 
but its revolutions are driven by electric motors, and its 
flame is ignited by electric spark. It is late afternoon in 
March. 

Cast. — Brehan, aged flfty-flve, the keeper. Yvon, aged twenty- 
flve, his son and his assistant. 

Sound. — Off mike, sound of high wind, muffled, as if being heard 
from inside . . . door opens . . . wind comes up strong . . . 
door slams hard and wind down again as before. 

Brehan.— Well, Yvon, you all flnished down below? 

Vyon. — Yes, all flnished. I fllled both the reservoirs. Pumped 
500 gallons into the reserve tank, too. 

Brehan. — You were quick. You must have hurried a bit. 

Yvon. — I wanted to get through. 

Brehan. — You never get through work on a lighthouse. 

Yvon. — I don’t mind working around the tanks or even around 
the lenses . . . but, Mon Dieu, going from one place to 
another I could hardly get up the staircase. It’s 200 steps, 
you know. 

Brehan. — Two hundred and six, mon flls. I’ve only kept this 
light for 20 years. You ought to be glad they didn’t build 
the thing any higher. 

* Copyright, 1938, by the Columbia Broadcasting System, Inc. 

24.6 



THE LIGHTHOUSE KEEPERS 



Yvon. — A 150 feet in the air is high enough for me. The wind 
outside is so strong it nearly blew me off the outside stairs. 

Brehan. — T hat’s nothing. Nowadays it isn’t so bad . . . keep- 
ing a light. Nowadays electricity does most of the work. 
When I first came out here I had to pump the oil up here 
with a hand pump. 

Yvon. — T here’s still plenty of work all the same. 

Brehan. — T here’s enough. But it’s easier. I’ve trimmed all 
the wicks and polished the reflectors, and all I have to do 
is push the electric button . . . so . . . 

Sound . — Electric motor hum . . . metallic grind of turntable as 
light revolves. 

Brehan. — S he’s on. One little click of a switch and every wick 
bvrming and the whole mechanism running easy as a clock. 

Vyon. — Y es, it’s simple enough. But it takes a lot of tending. 
. . . Isn’t it too early to put the light on ? 

Brehan. — Y es. I was just giving it a test. That new bearing. 
I always give her a test half an hour before lighting time . . . 
if there’s been any change in the equipment. I’ll turn it off 
now. 

Sound . — Switch clicks . . . motor out. 

Brehan. — Y ou can never take a chance . . . not when other 
people depend on you. 

Yvon. — W hat’s that ? Oh, yes, I suppose so. 

Sound . — Wind up slightly . . . then down. 

Brehan. — W hat a night. And more wind to come, too, if I know 
anything. 

Yvon. — Y ou’re right. It’ll probably be a long night. (Yawns) 
I’m tired. I’m awfully tired. 

Brehan. — A lready? But we haven’t been out here more than 
6 hours. . . . But then ... a whole month ashore ... it 
goes by in a hurry. Makes one a little soft, too, n’est-ce pas ? 

Yvon . — (Not hearing). What? What did you say? 



247 



BEST BROADCASTS OF 1938-39 

Brehan. — I say life ashore . . . well, one has a good time, and 
the hard thing about coming back to the Maudit is getting 
used to seeing no one, being alone, climbing stairs, and 
being alone, absolutely alone. 

Yvon. — Y es, that’s it. We’re so terribly alone. Cut off from 
civilization by 6 miles of open sea. If we only had a telephone 
even, or . . . 

Sound . — Wind up with sudden violence, obliterating last line of 
Yvon’s . . . wind down. 

Brehan. — L isten to that. Screaming like a woman. Sometimes 
it sounds almost musical, too. Have you noticed that ? 

Yvon. — M usical. I’d give it another word. I don’t like it. 

Brehan. — W ell, one has to call it something. One . . . one has 
to talk. Sometimes when there isn’t anything to do, I talk 
to the sea gulls, or I talk to the water. One must talk. In a 
Ughthouse one talks to oneself or to the rope on the flag- 
staff or maybe to the barometer. But that’s all right. . . . 
You are beginning to do it. It makes the loneliness ... it 
makes it less lonely. 

Yvon. — I don’t talk to myself. 

Brehan. — O f course you do. I hear your conversations . . . 
the pictures in your head that come out in words. . . . 

Yvon. — {Grudging) Well, maybe . . . but it’s silly . . . like 
women in an old ladies’ home somewhere. 

Brehan. — I t isn’t silly. You mustn’t think about it as silly. 

Sound . — Wind up .. . short screaming gust . . . then down as 
before. 

Brehan. — H igh wind and heavy rain. 

Yvon. — I t’s getting worse . . . seems to emphasize the loneli- 
ness. 

Brehan. — T hat’s because you’ve just been ashore. By and 
by your philosophies will grow to accommodate these little 
. . . these phases. 

Yvon. — I ... I suppose they will. But it’s so wild, it’s so ugly 
here. Maudit is on a cruel crag all right. 

248 



THE LIGHTHOUSE KEEPERS 



Brehan. — Of course it’s a cruel crag. That’s why there’s a light 
on it. 

Yvon. — And that’s why we’re on it. 

Brehan. — Well, maybe. Maudit is on the wildest piece of rock 
on the coast of Brittany. That’s what one of the inspectors 
told me, and when those fellows say wild, they mean it. 

Sound. — Wind up and down suddenly. 

Brehan. — More wind. . . . (Pause) 

Yvon. — Father . . . 

Brehan. — H’m ? 

Yvon. — Father, you said it took about 5 years to be a good 
lighthouse keeper. I ... I suppose that in 5 years you see 
about everything that covdd possibly happen in a place 
like this. 

Brehan. — Oui. I have seen it. I’ve seen it all. 

Yvon. — Everything ? 

Brehan. — Everything but the lighthouse topple into the sea. 
I’ve seen wrecks and drownings and men swimming in the 
surf. I’ve seen the lights fail; seen a time when I had to 
bum blankets and mattresses soaked in oil. Yes, I’ve seen a 
good deal, mon enfant. 

Yvon. — Have you ever been in a lighthouse when your partner 
. . . when yotu" assistant keeper . . . when he ... I mean 



Brehan. — When he what ? 

Yvon. — When he died ? 

Brehan. — Yvon. Don’t say such a thing. 

Yvon. — I ... I didn’t mean an}dhing by it. I just wondered 

if . . . 

Brehan. — That’s a frightful thing to think. To die without 
a priest. It’s unthinkable. That’s no way for poor Christians 
to go (rebuke), and it is not anything to be talking about 
either. 



249 



BEST BROADCASTS OF 1938-39 

Yvon. — Well, I ... I just said it. It just seemed to . . . sort 
of . . . occur to me. 

Brehan. — Non, non, mon fils. Don’t ever say such a thing. 
Those things don’t happen. God knows we are here to 
protect others. Surely we can expect that much protection 
in return. 

Yvon. — Yes ... I hope ... I mean {voice down . . . signifi- 
cant). . . . But wouldn’t it be a dreadful thing? 

Brehan. — {Impatiently) What’s the matter with you anyhow? 
I haven’t seen you like this since we lost Pierre. . . . 

Yvon. — It doesn’t seem like 3 years. If only he could have lived. 

Brehan. — Yes. If only. That’s the way with life. Things happen 
that hurt us, and the rest of us sit around and say, if only 
they hadn’t happened. But they do happen. . . . 

Yvon. — Mother could never console herself over the loss of 
Pierre. Just the other day I foimd her rereading the letter 
she got from the master of Pierre’s ship. 

Brehan. — Yes, that letter. I practically know it by heart. It 
went like this: “ During a severe southeast blow, I ordered a 
change in om course and a reefing of the fore-tops’l. Your 
son was the first to spring into the rigging. Halfway up 
the ratlines his foot slipped, and he fell, immediately disap- 
pearing in the sea.” 

Yvon. — Oh, well, maybe my lot would have been no better. . . . 
Even so, Pierre’s life was a free life ... a life packed with 
excitement, with limitless horizons, bright days, and sudden 
dangers. Nothing like it is here . . . aU caged up in a stone 
tower. 

Brehan. — Danger, mon fils, is possibly a good thing. But duty 
. . . duty is the finest thing in the world. Don’t ever forget 
that. 

Yvon. — All the same, it’s hard to be locked up this way. {Sharply) 
A man’s nerves aren’t supposed to stand anything like this. 

Brehan. — Nonsense. For 30 days out here we can be proud of 
ourselves . . . what we do for commerce, what we do for 
France . . . and what we are making out of ourselves. 



250 



THE LIGHTHOUSE KEEPERS 



Yvon. — I’ve felt that sense of pride . . . many times. But since 
our return to duty this time ... I don’t know what’s hap- 
pened to me. {In and out of mike as if Yvon were moving 
about) 

Brehan. — That’s nothing, pa passe. It will go away soon. 

Yvon. — Yes, it will pass. Maybe tomorrow, maybe next week. 

Sound. — Wind up strong . . . hold . . . then take down. 

Yvon. — Blowing harder than ever. It’s going to get real ugly. 

Brehan. — It has to be ugly some nights. 

Yvon. — Why does it ? 

Brehan. — So we’ll know how beautiful it is other nights. 

Yvon. — I can’t accept that. It’s too grim to suit me. 

Brehan. — Some day you’ll accept it and be more of a man for 
doing so. 

Yvon. — That’s only an opinion. 

Brehan. — Everything is only an opinion ... or state of mind. 

Yvon. — No. Some things are actual. 

Brehan . — Perhaps. 

Sound. — Of mike . . . shrill crying of sea gulls. 

Brehan. — ^Listen to those sea gulls. What a racket they make. 

Yvon. — Yes. They feel the bad weather coming. 

Brehan. — Don’t worry about the weather. And do stop walking 
around so. Take it easy. Take it easy. 

Yvon. — I can’t. I have to keep moving around like this. 

Brehan. — It’s from being ashore ... all those acres of open 
country. You got a little case of nerves ... a crazy sort of 
thing for a lighthouse keeper. 

Yvon. — But I can’t help it, I tell you. I’m all on edge. 

Brehan. — Maybe I could guess your trouble. 

Yvon. — I doubt it. 






BEST BROADCASTS OF 1938-39 

Brehan. — You don’t think so ? Well, how does this sound. . . . 
Maybe you’re in love with Marie ? 

Yvon. — Yes. How did you know that? Marie and I are going 
to get married. Did she say anything ? 

Brehan. — {Laughs) Pardieu. Of course not. You told me yourself 
. . . with everything you didn’t say. I am very glad, mon 
fils. A splendid girl she is, and a wise girl, too. 

Yvon. — Wise ? 

Brehan. — Wise to marry a lighthouse keeper. She’ll always 
know where you are nights. (Laughs) 

Yvon. — Don’t joke about it, father. We are very, very much 
in love. 

Brehan. — I’m not joking, mon petit. I congratulate you. I 
am very happy. Let me give you a kiss (kisses him twice). 
There now, good luck and God bless you. 

Yvon. — Thank you, father. 

Brehan. — (Pleased) Ah, yes. A fine thing to have an honest wife. 
I hope you will have some strong sons, too. Some day 
he will come out here and keep the Maudit light like his 
father and grandfather, eh, Yvon? (Laughs) 

Sound. — Sea gulls cry . . . and fly against glass of light tower, 
striking it with beaks. 

Brehan. — ^Listen to those gulls again. If they don’t stop banging 
into the glass, they’ll break right through it. It wouldn’t 
be the first time. It’s probably so thick outside, they don’t 
know where they’re going. (Going of) Guess I’ll take a 
little look around outside myself. 

Yvon. — F ather. 

Brehan. — (Of mike) What is it? 

Yvon. — I wish you’d . . . 

Brehan. — (Of) What did you say? 

Yvon. — I said I wished . . . nothing . . . never mind. 

Brehan. — Well, I’ll be back in a jiSy. Au ’voir. 

252 



THE LIGHTHOUSE KEEPERS 



Sound . — Door open . . . powerful wind up strong . . . take 
down as door slams. 

Yvon . — (Shouts after) Father, father. Don’t leave me alone 
in here. Father! Oh, my God, what has gone wrong with 
me. My head is whirling around like a wheel. (Breaks 
off and begins to sob . . . chokes this ojff) Come out of 
this, Yvon. Get hold of yourself. He’ll be coming back any 
minute. 

Sound . — Doorknob rattles, and door opens as if with difficulty 
. . . wind up strong and door forced shut against wind . . . 
wind down. 

Brehan. — M on Dieu. What horrible weather. I’m soaking 
wet. It’s been 4 years since we had a blow like this. Good 
thing we’re on a pile of rocks. (Off) Guess I’ll get out of these 
oilskins , . . and maybe polish up a couple of lanterns. 

Sound . — Rasp of heavy oilskin material as he climbs out of coat. 

Brehan. — (Off) I’ll begin with this one, I guess. It seems to 
need it most. 

Sound . — Sound of lantern being moved off hook, its bail bang- 
ing against the chimney . . . then sound of chimney being 
lifted by lever . . . removal of chimney . . . then sound 
of polishing the glass with paper . . . real kerosene lantern 
necessary for this effect. 

Brehan . — (Continuing . . . not quite so far off mike . . . 
lighter vein) No, it’s not so bad, really, Yvon. Makes 
me proud, too, in weather like this ... to think that 
but for you and me . . . nobody would be safe on the coast 
of Brittany. (Sounds of polishing continue and tinkle of 
lantern and occasional banging of handle) And the worse the 
night, the more important we are. Maudit will be there. 
Maudit will always be there, shooting her long beam for 
14 miles into the darkness. Duty, mon fils. Duty, the 
first thing and the last thing in every man’s life, n’est-ce pas ? 

Yvon . — (Not hearing) I suppose so. (Pause) 

Sound . — Polishing sounds continue quietly ... no talk for 
5 seconds. 

Yvon. — Father, what are you doing there anyhow ? 



253 



BEST BROADCASTS OF 1938-39 

Brehan. — W hat am I doing? Why, you can see for yourself. 
I’m just polishing these lanterns. A good sailor is always 
polishing something. 

Yvon. — I wish you’d leave it alone. 

Brehan. — W hat do you mean ? What for ? 

Yvon. — I don’t want to see it. It shines so much it hurts my 
eyes. It seems to be burning a hole into me. 

Brehan. — W hat the devil are you talking about ? 

Yvon. — {Voice rising . . . and bring Brehan into same per- 
spective as if they were standing together) . . . Gimme that 
lantern, I tell you. 

Brehan. — {Surprised and annoyed) Pardieu! What are you 
trying to do ? Qu’avez-vous ? 

Yvon. — G ive it to me, I tell you ! 

Sound. — Lantern snatched from Brehan . . . bail banging against 
chimney . . . lantern flung . . . and it crashes, the chimney 
splintering ... of mike. 

Yvon. — T here . . . now leave the others alone, too ! 

Brehan. — Y ou fool! What’s the matter with you? Have you 
gone out of your head ? 

Yvon. — {Frightened at the absurdity of his own act) I ... I 
don’t know. I don’t know. I just couldn’t stand . . . oh. I’m 
so terribly afraid of something ... I can’t tell . . . 

Brehan. — {Scornful and angry) Afraid! 

Yvon. — {Almost going to pieces) I’m afraid. I’m afraid. Some- 
thing is stifling me. I can’t stand being alone this way 
any more. I’ve had 3 years of it. I won’t stand any more 
of it. I’ve got to get ashore, I tell you. I’ve got to get 
ashore right away! 

Brehan. — {Trying to comprehend . . . easier) Yvon, please 
try to be sensible. You’re tired. You’re letting this thing 
excite you. It’s nerves. We all get them now and then. Tell 
you what. I’ll take the first watch tonight. A good sleep 
will set you up. 



254 



THE LIGHTHOUSE KEEPERS 



Yvon. — Sleep! If I could only sleep. If I could sleep and then 
wake up and see it was all just a dream I was having. . . . 

Brehan. — Don’t talk that way, mon petit. Of course you’ll 
be able to sleep. You can’t afford to carry on like this, 
Yvon. Supposing we both went to pieces like this and a 
ship broke up on the rocks below. No, no, Yvon. We can’t 
afford to have these . . . these excesses. They lead to negli- 
gence. I know. I’ve seen it. 

Yvon. — {Faint) I know. I’m sorry. I should control myself . . . 
no matter what. I think I’ll go out on the tower step. 
Maybe if I got a little air . . . 

Brehan. — Good. That’s more like it. Hang on to the rail now. 
The wind . . , it’s hurricane velocity by now. 

Yvon. — {Going of) Yes. I will. I’ll hang on. 

Sound. — Door open . . . sudden wind squall . . . door closes 
against wind . . . wind screams and fades down as door 
shuts. 

Brehan. — Poor boy, poor boy. Now I’ll have to get a broom 
and sweep up this mess. 

Sound. — Sound of broom sweeping up glass. During next mono- 
logue, speech is broken by sound of sweeping, banging of 
dustpan, picking up lantern, and occasional grunts, as if 
Brehan were leaning over from time to time and picking up 
things. 

Brehan. — What a thing for him to do. And him 3 years with 
the light. Three for him. But 20 years for me. Twenty years. 
I’m almost an old man now . . . old Brehan. {Chuckles) 
Just an old man who talks to himself when he’s alone. 
Well, old folks can talk to themselves if they want to. It’s 
better than not talking at all. 

Sound. — Of -mike shout, barely audible. 

Brehan. — Eh ? What was that ? 

Sound. — Wind up slightly. 

Brehan. — I thought that was somebody calling. I guess old 
Brehan is beginning to stoop a little in his mind as well as 
his back. Hearing things that don’t happen . . . 



255 



BEST BROADCASTS OP 1938-39 



Sound. — Off-mike shout, more audible. 

Brehan. — No. That was a shout. Am I getting the creeps 
like Yvon? Mon Dieu! {Going off) What could that have 
been ? 

Sound. — Door opens, xvind up. 

Brehan. — {Shouting over noise of wind) Yvon! Yvon! Are 
you calling? {V<nce down) Oh, here you are. I thought I 
heard you shouting. Come in out of the wet. 

Yvon. — Yes, I shouted. I guess I did, anyhow. I don’t know 
why. I don’t seem to be . . . Oh . . . 

Sound. — Door closes . . . wind down again. 

Brehan. — Well, never mind that now. Here, come inside and 
take off your oilskin. 

Sound. — Rasp of heavy material of oilskin as it is removed. 

Brehan. — Why, you’re trembling all over, 

Yvon. — Am I ? I feel so hot. I feel like I was going to fall down. 

Brehan. — Maybe you’ve caught yourself a cold since we came 
out. 

Yvon. — Perhaps. I feel burning up ... as if my Itmgs were on 
fire. Every breath ... I need a drink of water, father. I’m 
terribly thirsty. 

Brehan. — ^Let me feel your head. {Pause) Hum, I thought 
so. Got a bit of fever. No, you’d better leave water alone. 
It’ll just raise your temperatme. 

Yvon. — But I’m dying with thirst, I tell you. Give me some 
water. Just a little water. 

Brehan. — No. 

Yvon. — Please do. I beg you. Only the littlest bit. 

Brehan. — Don’t be a fool. 

Yvon. — I’m sorry. I’m afraid . . . I’m afraid there’s something 
awful the matter with me I ... I’m not at all myself. I 
feel like I was someone else, someone I didn’t know. Some 
force seems to be moving my arms and legs, and I can 
hardly hear what I’m saying. . . . Please, please let me 
have just a bit of water. I feel I’ll faint. . . . 

256 



THE LIGHTHOUSE KEEPERS 



Brehan. — A ll right, then. Just a little, and drink it very slowly. 
Just sip it. 

Sound . — Water poured out of pitcher. 

Brehan. — H ere. 

Yvon. — O h, thank you . . . I . . . I . . . (Sudden alarm) 
Father, father. . . . 

Brehan. — Comment? 

Yvon. — W hat can it be ? I’m so thirsty, but I ... I can’t drink. 
The sight of it, of the water in this cannister . . . horrifies 
me. 

Brehan. — B etter leave it alone then. It’s fever. You’ll be able 
to drink later on. 

Yvon. — Y es, perhaps. Later on. But the sight of it makes me 
sick. Take it away. 

Brehan. — T hat’s your fever. . . . Here, Yvon, come over on 
the couch and lie down awhile. And let me cover you up. 

Yvon. — N o, I don’t want to be covered. I’m too hot. 

Brehan. — Y ou do what I say. There now. That’s better. (Pause) 
Yvon. Why are you staring at me so? 

Yvon. — L isten, father ... I have to tell you something . . . 
I can’t keep it to myself. 

Brehan. — Y ou tell me. Tell your father, mon enfant. What 
is it? 

Yvon. — I t’s about what we . . . what I . . . 

Brehan. — G o on. Don’t be afraid to tell me. 

Yvon. — T he other day . . . over at Cousin Santee’s . . . 

Brehan. — Y es, at Cousin Santee’s. I remember. What about 
it? 

Yvon. — S antee’s dog . . . that big hunter . . . 

Brehan. — Y es, I know. A fine animal. It was too bad they 
had to kill him. 

Yvon. — (Starts) Had to kill. So . . . they did have to kill him. 
Had to kill him because he was mad ! 



257 



BEST BROADCASTS OF 1938-39 

Brehan. — But that was no fault of Santee’s. He was always 
very kind to him. 

Yvon. — {Earnest . . . voice down) Father, that dog . . . that 
dog bit me. That’s what’s the matter. {Voice rising That’s 
why I’m dying with thirst. That’s why my head is whirl- 
ing. I’m mad. I’m mad! I’m turning into a mad dog like 
the hunter ! {Sobs) 

Brehan. — {Terrified and incredulous) Lie down. Lie down. 
It can’t be . . . mon fils . . . it’s impossible ! 

Yvon. — {Voice dead) It has already happened. Remember 
Guirec, the butcher ? When he died ? He had this fever and 
a thirst he couldn’t bear. He couldn’t drink either . . . not a 
drop. {Voice beginning to rise) I was there. I saw him. 
That means ... it means that it’s all over . . . when 
you can’t drink. I’m mad. I feel the madness growing in 
my mouth . . . my eyes staring . . . {Voice up suddenly) 
I’m going to die Uke Guirec . . . howling and snarling 
like a mad dog. {Sobs) 

Brehan. — No, no, for God’s sake! 

Yvon. — Yes, I am. It can’t be anything else. It’s been com- 
ing on for 2 days. I’ve been too terrified to say anything. . . . 

Brehan. — Yvon, Yvon, mon petit, mon cher. 

Yvon. — Oh, father, I can’t die like this. Not alone. Not here. 
I’ve got to get ashore. {Screams) I tell you I’ve got to get 
ashore ! 

Brehan. — Yes, yes! I’ll save you. Yvon, mon cher, mon cher! 

Yvon. — Oh, I want to live! More than anything! I must live! 
I’ve got to live! 

Brehan. — Yes, yes, Yvon! You’re going to live. You’U be all 
right. This will pass. It’s . . . it’s your fever climbing. 

Yvon. — Do you think so ? 

Brehan. — Yes, yes, I think so. Mon Dieu. Of course I think so. 

Yvon. — {Voice down) Father, what would it be like. . . . What 
would you do {quick) if I did die? Would you throw me 
into the sea? 

258 



THE LIGHTHOUSE KEEPERS 



Brehan. — {Startled) Yvon, you mustn’t say that. It isn’t true. 
It isn’t going to be true. . . . You . . . 

Yvon. — {Breaking in over) That’s why I ran out on the tower 
step. That’s why you heard me screaming! I ... I wanted 
to throw myself into the sea. I wanted to so you wouldn’t 
have to. 

Brehan. — My God, my God! Yvon. Have pity. You can’t 
know what you’re saying. 

Yvon. — {Dead voice) I know what I’m saying. 

Brehan. — Yvon, I’ll take care of you. I promise. {Idea stid- 
denly) I’ll launch the dory and row ashore and come back 
here with a doctor! 

Yvon. — You know you can’t do that. . . . You can’t row 
6 miles in this weather. You could never get the boat in the 
water ! 

Brehan. — {Going of mike) All the same I’m going. It’s the 
only thing. 

Yvon. — No, no, no! Don’t do that! You’ll never come back! 
Don’t leave me alone. 

Brehan. — {Coming hack in slow) All right. I’ll stay with you 
then. {Trying to he soothing) Yvon, soyez tranquille. You 
must be quiet now. {Going of mike again) I just want you 
to be calm . . . just calm for a little while . . . while 
I ... I know what I will do. . . . 

Sound. — Short pause here ... 2 seconds . . . then sound 
of rope being hauled through pulley . . . pulley squeak 
way of mike. 

Yvon. — What are you doing ? 

Brehan. — {Sound continues) I’m hoisting the distress flag. 
They’ll see it the first thing in the morning. They’ll send 

out . . . 

Yvon. — In this weather! No sailor alive could reach us. And 
no boat either. 

Brehan. — Perhaps the bad weather won’t hold. Perhaps God 
will perform some miracle. 

Yvon. — {Sarcastic) God. 



259 



BEST BROADCASTS OF 1938-39 



Brehan. — D on’t blaspheme that way, Yvon. God is a just God. 

Sound . — Sound of pulley wheel out. 

Brehan. — T here. It’s fljdng now, . . . No, no, Yvon . . . God 
is good. {Feeling that he has to remind God of this) He must 
be! The 10 years I spent in the Coast Guard! Risking 
my life a thousand times! He owes me this much that 
you may live in exchange for the risks I have taken for 
others! He must! He must! He will! I know he will! . . . 
You wait and see ... in the morning . . . yes, the first 
thing in the morning. 

Yvon . — {Not impressed) Yes, perhaps. . . . How my head 
swims! How hot I feel! Oh, God, I’m sick . . . I’m sick. 
... I’m sick. ... I feel something terrible . . . some- 
thing coming . . . coming soon. {Delirium) Maman! . . . 
Maman ! 

Brehan. — M on pauvre . . . mon pauvre . . . Yvon, please, lie 
still. 

Yvon. — {Menacing) Keep away from me. Get away. I’m going 
out of my head. I’m going mad! Going mad! {Inhales sharply 
through his teeth) 

Brehan. — {Frightened) Mon Dieu! There’s foam on your face. 

Yvon. — G et away, I tell ya. Get away, I can’t bear you near me. 
If you don’t get away . . . I’ll ... I’ll .. . {Threat rises) 
Keep away ! Keep away from me ! 

Brehan. — Y von! Yvon! 

Yvon . — {Beginning to scream at him) I tell you to get away! 
{Yvon begins to snarl . . , bring this in close . . . Brehan 
screams . . . sound of struggle) 

Brehan. — W hat are you doing! Yvon! Let go of me! Let me 
go! {Snarls continue) I’ll . . , I’ll have to choke you, 
Yvon! {Snarling suddenly gives way to choking and gasping 
sound , . , strangulation continues but grows weaker and 
weaker . . . Brehan pants with exertion . . . choking sounds 
out entirely . . . nothing is heard but Brehan' s breathing . . . 
then sound of body fall) 

Brehan. — M y son! I’ve killed him! I’VE KILLED HIM! 
{Brehan bursts into sobs. He weeps steadily for several seconds 

260 



THE LIGHTHOUSE KEEPERS 



. . . over the sound of his weeping is gradually superimposed 
sound of wind rising . . . this comes up strong and obliterates 
weeping . . . wind rises to sudden shriek . . . then down 
slightly) Curse you! Curse your weather and your wind. 
Ciu'se every black wave in your ocean’s body! You’ve done 
this! You’ve taken my last son! Because I am hereto 
snatch away your victims, that's why you’ve taken revenge ! 
I curse the pitch-black spittle in your evil mouth. I hate 
you! I loathe you! I DESPISE YOU! {Breaks off quickly 
and falls into convulsive sobs . . . these recede slowly) 

Sound . — Far off mike the whistle of a ship is almost indistinguish- 
able against the storm . . . sobbing continues quietly . . . 
whistle is heard again . . . more distinctly. 

Brehan . — {Rousing . . . only half comprehending . . . in a 
whisper) What’s that! A ship! My light. I haven’t put my 
light on! 

Sound. — Ship's whistle closer. 

Brehan. — S he’ll break up! She’ll strike and break up. {The 
full significance of this begins to take hold of him . . . begins 
to laugh slightly) Let ’er smash. Let ’er rip ’er bottoms out. 
{Laughs hysterically) I’ll never put this light on. Never! 
Never! Never! Nobody ever came to help me. {Laughs 
again) 

Sound . — Whistle closer. 

Brehan . — {Suddenly stops laughing . . . voice goes down very 
tender) NO . . . nobody ever came. I’m going to stay with 
Yvon. My little Yvon. Mon pauvre cher . . . {His tender- 
ness becomes the enfeebled whimpering of an old man) Yes, 
Yvon . . . I’m going to stay with you, mon petit. Old 
Brehan is going to stay with you. . . . 

Sound . — Whistle again . . . close by. 

Brehan. — {Startled) Mon Dieu! She’s almost on us! {Hesitant 
. . . beginning to take courage) I ... I can’t do this! I’m a 
lighthouse keeper! 

Sound . — Whistle very close in. 

Brehan . — {The active man again) All right ! All right ! I’m coming ! 
Where’s the switch now ! Where is it, where is it ? Here ! Come 
on now ! Light ! 



261 



BEST BROADCASTS OF 1938-39 

Sound . — Click of switch . . . sound of mechanism . . . metallic 
grind of turntable. 

Brehan. — T here it is! That did it! Yes, she sees it already. She’s 
veering away. 

Sound . — Three short quick blasts of whistle . . . not quite so close 
as before. 

Brehan. — S o . . . you salute me, eh? You say thank you. All 
right. All right. Old Behan says you’re welcome. (Sighs) 
I’ve done everything I could. . . . (Pause) Now ... I 
wonder what I should do about Yvon. . . . (Pause . . . 
suddenly startled) Mon Dieu . . . my arm! It’s bleeding! I 
wonder ... I wonder if Yvon has bitten me\ 

Sound . — Slow rise of wind ... up to peak of sound load . . . 
sea gulls cry . . . slow fade . . . down and out on wind. 



262 



BEST ENGLISH LITERATURE SHOW 



The Story of John Milton 

by Helen Walpole and Margaret Leaf 
From Adventure in Reading 

N ew discoveries are the delight of any editor. This one 
was the privilege of Lewis Titterton, Script' Editor 
for NBC. One day Welboum Kelley, one of the senior 
writers of the Script Division at NBC, came in with a 
manuscript that he said had been written by a young and 
talented actress, Helen Walpole, in collaboration with 
Margaret Leaf, the wife of the creator of Ferdinand the 
Bull; that he had read it and thought it unusually good. 
Others promptly read the manuscript, which bore the 
general title, “Adventure in Reading,” and were so im- 
pressed that it seemed that an approach to the wealth of 
interest latent in literature based less upon talks about 
authors and books or dramatization of scenes from books 
and rather upon an interpretation of a book through show- 
ing how it sprang from the events of an author’s life might 
prove both entertaining and informing. 

Lewis Titterton, manager of NBC’s Script Division, 
started the series for a preliminary trial on April i8, 1938, 
with a study of Mark Twain. By complete contrast the 
second broadcast dealt with Raymond Ditmars, the curator 
of mammals and reptiles of the New York Zoological Park. 
Six broadcasts were given that season. So successful was 
the series that it was started again on October 17, and when 
its autumn and spring season was drawing to a close it was 
selected unanimously by the staff of the Educational De- 
partment as one of the two programs that should by all 
means be continued through the summer and into the next 
academic year. 

This summer a variation was made from the pattern of 
the program as it was developed during its first year. The 

263 



BEST BROADCASTS OF 1938-39 

works and lives of contemporary authors are being used 
during certain weeks with the definite intention of showing 
that literature with a capital L does not necessarily wear 
the long white beard of the past but can be and is created 
before our very eyes by those whom we might meet on the 
street. An example of this is Elsie Singmaster’s “Rifles for 
Washington,” which illustrates sound but exciting writing 
on an historical subject by a contemporary author. The 
piece on John Milton has been chosen for this anthology 
for the reason that it is invariably this sort of subject upon 
which educators commit their greatest violence. 

For the past hundred and fifty years the usual conception 
of John Milton in the imagination of America’s school 
children has been a misty mezzotint of a bhnd man sitting 
in a dark room dictating “Paradise Lx)st” to his bored but 
dutiful daughters. That Milton was one of the most fear- 
less and most revolutionary thinkers of his century few 
youngsters have ever been permitted to know. The script 
reprinted here is neither comprehensive nor literary. It 
should not be. Its value lies entirely in its approach and 
treatment. It gives the listener a flavor of the man and his 
times and in so doing replaces the usual stuffiness of bio- 
graphical investigation by Hvely curiosities rarely encoun- 
tered in the classroom. 

The broadcast was heard over NBC’s Blue Network on 
the afternoon of January 23, 1939. 



264 



The Story of John Milton* 



ooooQQQQQooafljtooafla flfl-aoQaagoflfiaftafiflaflflflgflggaflao 

Narrator. — The National Broadcasting Company brings you 
Adventure in Reading, by Helen Walpole and Margaret 
Leaf. This is another in the series of dramatized episodes in 
the hves of the men and women who ... in their books 
. . . told some of the world’s most thrilling and exciting 
stories. 

Music. 

John Milton, called the great voice of England, was bom 
in London, December the ninth, 1608, 5 years after Queen 
Elizabeth’s death. From childhood he was destined for the 
study of literature. His father engaged the best tutors for 
his early training. At the age of sixteen he entered Christ’s 
College, Cambridge, and spent 7 years there. It was an 
eventful period . . . that through which he lived . . . the 
merry England of good Queen Bess was passing . . . but 
changes in people and manners seldom come easily, and 
the Stuart kings felt so little the temperature of their times 
that they themselves finally became the target of the dis- 
order and discontent. But when our story opens . . . 
Charles the First is stiU feasting in Whitehall. . . . Two 
young men are in the garden of the Milton home in Horton, 
Buckinghamshire . . . talking. One is Charles Diodati, 
Milton’s closest friend, and the other . . . 

Charles. — Ay, John Milton, you’ve argued me down on every 
point. 

Milton. — {Laughs) I have been talking at length this afternoon. 
We “tired the sun with talking and sent him down the sky.” 
. . . Look. 

Charles. — Yes. {Pause) How long, John, can your restless 
spirit spend itself in this quiet countryside ? 

Milton. — I’ve had days here of the only perfect contentment 
I’ve ever known. I’m a hermit at heart. I could live in a 
cell with my books and my music. 

* Copyright, 1939, by the National Broadcasting Company, Inc. 

265 



BEST BROADCASTS OF 1938-39 

Charles. — Yes, you cotild . . . but you shan’t if your friends 
have any influence with you. 

Milton. — Now that we’re finished with the university ... I 
feel that I can begin my real work. I want to absorb all the 
learning of all the ages! 

Charles. — {With friendly amusement) Well, as you can read 
Greek, Latin, Hebrew, and Italian ... I should think 
you’ll be able to do that. 

Milton. — I know at school they said I had no sense of humor. 



Charles. — B ut why are you saying all this ? 

Milton. — O h, probably because you are my greatest friend, 
I want . . . what . . . not self-justification . . . no, not 
that. . . . 

Charles. — W hat then? 

Milton. — T o talk myself out ... to say aloud some of the 
things I believe ... to a trusted friend. . . . 

Charles. — I can tell you that one reason you were . . . well 
. . . laughed at ... if you will have it so ... is because 
you ... in school . . . made your star one of learning. 
. . . It’s . . . well . . . it’s more than our healthy, unam- 
bitious contemporaries can endure. 

Milton. — I t’s hard to imderstand ... if I have a star, as you 
call it . . . and I do believe I have . . . it’s not necessarily 
a serious star. I love gaiety . . . 

Charles. — Y our “L’ Allegro” is proof of that. “L’ Allegro” and 
‘‘II Penseroso.” The two sides of your nature, John. 

Milton. — I believe so firmly in my own destiny that I know I 
must walk alone . . . work alone. 

Charles. — W hat do you think your destiny to be ? 

Milton. — I would like to know . . . the heartbeats of all 
nations. I would like to be in a high place and yet never 
leave a humility of spirit. . . . It’s hard to speak of what’s 
deepest inside us . . . isn’t it ? 

Charles. — Y es. 

266 



THE STORY OF JOHN MILTON 



Milton. — I would like to dedicate myself ... to England . . . 
to God . . . and to the truth in myself. That’s all. 

Charles. — Y ou can do . . . all that. 

Milton. — B ut now . . . let’s leave this seriousness. . . . 
There’re only a few times in one’s life when one talks as we 
have today. The moment has passed. Tell me, what must I 
do with Harry Lawes’ suggestion for the masque ? 

Charles. — L awes is a splendid musician. I’m glad you’re doing 
another masque with him. 

Milton. — Y es, the success of “The Arcadians’’ spurs us to 
another one. You see, the difficulties with my Comus idea 
are that it’s to be written for the Earl of Bridgewater. You 
remember when his daughter, the Lady Alice, was lost in 
Heywood forest . . . 

Charles. — A re you going to use that ? 

Milton. — I was thinking of it. I’m limited, as is usually the case 
in these things. I can only use so many characters. There 
must be parts in it for the Earl’s children. ... In other 
words. I’m facing a playwright’s problem ... of writing 
to order for a set company of actors. 

Charles. — W ill it be an elaborate production ? 

Milton. — N ot so elaborate, as masques go. . . . Think of the 
ones in the Queen’s day. 

Charles. — S candals to the treasury! 

Milton. — Y es. 

Charles. — W ell, I’m glad you are doing it. . . . It’s active. I 
was becoming worried about your living in the country and 
meditating on the past. This will prove better for you than 
working on the legends of King Arthur. 

Milton. — O h, I haven’t given up any of my plans. . . . My 
notebook is filled to overflowing. ... I would like to have 
the lives of ten men. Then . . . then I might . . . 

Charles. — J ohn . . . John . . . 

Milton. — Y ou’re right. I’ve talked enough. It’s now quite 
dark. . . . Shall we go in ? 



267 



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Music. — Bridge. 

Milton. — L udlow Castle! Well, whatever the reception of Comus 
and his crew this evening, Harry ... we have had a 
pleasant stay here. 

La WES. — It’s almost time, isn’t it? Is not being a musician 
enough, John? I’m beginning to quaver at the thought of 
acting in “Comus.” 

Milton. — C ourage, Harry, courage! There’s no one else who 
could play the attendant Spirit. It’s most important for you 
to begin the masque and end it . . . the first words must 
set the pace of the whole. 

La WES. — “Before the starry threshold of Jove’s court 
My mansion is, where those immortal shapes 
Of bright aerial spirits live insphered 
In regions of . . . ” (Laughs nervously) 

’Tis there. Ah, I’m getting the nerves of play actors. 

Milton. — I’ m hoping that the children of the Earl are getting 
the nerves of play actors and going over their lines. 

La WES. — ^Lady Alice is admirable as the “the Lady.” 

Milton. — S he has an ear for verse . . . the lads wovdd fare 
better if I had written their parts in rhymed couplets. The 
scene between the brothers is the only one I fear. 

Lawes. — ^L ord John will be pleased. All the kindred will be 
pleased . , . even if the Viscovmt Brackley forgets every 
other line. 

Milton. — A y. . . . What say you, Harry . . . when it’s done 
... do you think the Earl of Bridgewater will get aught 
from it ? 

Lawes. — H e will say, “Beautiful! Delightful! my dear Mr. 
Milton.” 

Milton. — P erhaps that’s what I want to be said . . . my few 
lines written directly to the Earl . . . “He that hath light 
within his own clear breast ...” and 

“Love virtue, she alone is free. 

She can teach ye how to climb 
Higher than the spearing chime . . . 



268 



THE STORY OF JOHN MILTON 



Lawes. — I speak those lines. I might look at his lordship as I 
say them . . . look at him as if I know he loves virtue and 
expect him to continue loving her. 

Milton. — W ell, do that, then. Oh, the music. Lady Alice’s 
dress to take away from any weightiness and lack of drama 

Sound . — Crowd record and other voices. 

Lawes. — L isten . . . 

Milton. — Y es . . . 

Lawes. — A cross . . . see . . . the Lady Alice . . . how lovely 
she looks . . . and such self-confidence ... a great deal 
more than I have. 

Milton. — H arry, Harry! And you one of the greatest musicians 
in England! {Crowd up) Lord Bridgewater is bidding them 
welcome. . . . Now they’re quieting down. . . . {Crowd 
down) It’s time. . . . {Light applause and conversation, ojff 
' mike) Walk forward now . . . and then enter swiftly. My 
sympathies and blessing! 

Lawes . — {Of mike) I need them. {Applause dies down. A second’s 
pause . . . then ... of mike 

“Before the starry threshold of Jove’s court 
My mansion is, where those immortal shapes . . . 

{Fades into-) 

Music. — Bridge. 

Charles. — I t’s good to have you here in London. Three years 
since the presentation of “Comus.” . . . That’s been the 
last masque performed, hasn’t it, John? 

Milton . — {Throwing line away) They were near their end. It’s a 
form of writing that belongs to a different day than ours. 
What are you doing ? . . . Going through all my books ? 

Charles. — O h, I was only glancing at these on the table. I’m 
glad the masque is published. 

Milton. — T hank Harry Lawes for that. He attended to it. Thank 
you for your letter about “Lycidas.” 

Charles. — I found it very difi&cult to express myself. I was . . . 
shocked at Edward King’s death. I grieved, too, of course. 

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All of US did who knew him . . . but ... it was the first 
time . . . I’d realized that . . . 

Milton. — T hat youth can die. Yes . . . it’s only personal 
sorrow that can reach us . . . touch us. 

Charles. — B ut “Lycidas” ... in that you said everything. 
You made him universal . . . and immortal. 

Milton. — I attempted more than that. Oh, you remember the 
long hours of talk we had at the university . . . about 
religion . . . about bigotry and intolerance. ... I felt it 
was part of Edward, part of you . . . part of those eventful 
years to write of that . . . too. 

Charles. — A s I’ve said, there are ... no words ... to 
express my feelings about the elegy. 

Milton. — O h, and for truth’s sake ... I wrote of those things 
for myself . . . too. 

Charles. — O f course, you did. 

Milton. — W ell, soon I shall begin my travels . . . the journey 
I’ve planned for months. 

Charles. — F rance first . . . 

Milton. — Y es . . . France . . . but then . . . Italy . . . 
Dante . . . Leonardo . . . Giotto. . . . All yotmg Eng- 
lishmen want to go to Italy. They want to use Italy as a 
polishing stone for their education, for their manners . . . 
but I ... I want to see something of the essential differ- 
ences between Italy today and our cotmtry. 

Music. — Bridge. 

L’Allegro . — {Off mike or echo) You! In your black cape . . . 
you on whom sorrow sits eternally and cannot leave . . . 
who are you ? Why are you here ? 

Il Penseroso. — Y ou know who I am. You found me out . . . 
you, in your golden garments, your train of sxmlight borne 
by winds of Spring. . . . 

L’Allegro. — I did not expect you so soon. 

Il Penseroso. — T he boy Milton is growing older. His youth was 
part of England’s sleeping happy time . . . but now . . . 

270 



THE STORY OF JOHN MILTON 



L’Allegro. — D o not look ahead. See . . . even now he’s travel- 
ing toward Italy. He is young. Let him be young a few years 
longer. 

Il Penseroso. — T here is no potion for everlasting youth. I can 
do nothing. 

L’Allegro. — M ortals grow older through feeling, through suffer- 
ing . . . not through thinking . . . not through building 
thoughts on thoughts high toward the star of reason. 

Il Penseroso. — C an you not see in the distance the death of a 
friend ? Charles Diodati will die before he returns to England. 
... You know that. 

L’Allegro. — I know that in Italy he will visit Galileo Galilei. 
He wiU learn from Galileo. . . . Do not speak of suffering. 
... It cannot touch him yet. 

Il Penseroso. — C an you not see in the distance bloodstains on 
the clouds . . . bloodstains of civil war ? 

L’Allegro. — I shall not forsake him. If shadows fall from your 
darkness ... I shall be there. ... I shall be there. . . . 

Music. — Bridge. 

Milton . — {Of mike) I was told I would find you here, Signor 
Galileo. 

Galileo. — Y ou are . . . 

Milton . — {Of mike) John Milton. 

Galileo. — I am blind . . . you have been told that. . . . Come 
forward . . . come forward . . . I . . . 

Milton. — N o, no, signor . . . please . . . don’t rise. . . . For- 
give me (Jading in) for standing there staring. This is an 
honor ... a greater honor than I can tell you. 

Galileo. — D on’t talk of honor, young Milton. I’m glad you 
came. Ay, let me have your hand. ... I can tell something 
of the manner of man you are. There. Now, you must sit 
down. . . . There’s a stool . . . around somewhere. . . . 

Milton . — {A little of mike) Here . . . this is it. 

Galileo. — T his is my workroom. ... I like order. ... I 
endeavor to keep order . . . but somehow . . . 



2yi 



BEST BROADCASTS OF 1938-39 

Milton. — D on’t think of me, signor. ... I can make myself 
comfortable, and your table seems in beautiful order to me. 

Galileo. — I finished dusting it myself before you came ... a 
plague upon my maidservant. Try as I will, I cannot get 
her . . . 

Milton. — S ignor Galileo. 

Galileo. — I can feel you looking at me. . . . You have curious 
eyes, have you not . . . yoimg man ? 

Milton. — I . . . 

Galileo. — I can even read your thoughts. “He is old,” you are 
thinking . . . “older than I imagined” . . . and you’re 
pitying me, thinking of my strength . . . strength over- 
taken by age and blindness. . . . Don't pity me. 

Milton. — I’ m not, signor. I would never presume to pity you. 
One doesn’t pity a stream of fire that has become blocked. 
, . . One cannot pity greatness. 

Galileo. — {Suddenly) Why did you come to Italy ? 

Milton. — T o enjoy the greater freedom you have here in art 
... in literature . . . 

Galileo. — Y ou . . . too . . . then, are searching for freedom. 

Milton. — I am. There’s something I want to ask you, signor 
. . . and if it’s too personal . . . you must tell me you 
forgive me. 

Galileo. — B eing a prisoner of the Inquisition hardens the soul. 
You can ask me what you wiU. I’ve always spoken my mind. 

Milton. — Y ou were taken for astronomical heresies, were you 
not? 

Galileo. — I was taken by those who can’t see beyond their own 
noses. I look for truth, and they call it heresy. 

Milton. — T his is my question. Are you sorry? Are you sorry 
you’ve followed the god of Science . . . that you didn’t 
scan the heavens unknowingly ? 

Galileo. — Y ou are young. That is youth attempting to see with 
the eyes of age. I don’t thirds you believe in your own 
question. 



272 



THE STORY OF JOHN MILTON 



Milton. — I do believe in it. I want to know. Here in Italy I’ve 
seen the glories of Florence . . . the shining imprint all 
over your country of the clarity of the Renaissance. . . . 
Ideas are beating in my head to take home with me . . . and 
before I go I want you, Galileo Galilei, to tell me whether 
you consider your life worth while. 

Galileo. — I see, you, too, are a seeker of fact. . . . 

Milton. — W e have spoken of truth. Truth is greater than fact. 

Galileo. — Y ou ask me . . . old and beaten . . . and blind 
. . . whether I’m glad I lived as I did . . . when living in 
another way . . . might have spared me this end. 

Milton. — I t’s important to me. 

Galileo. — B ut what else could I do but live my life as it came ? 
Worth while? Do you expect a saintly fanaticism from 
me . . . medieval banners blowing? No, there are no 
banners blowing. No, there are no banners in my soul . . . 
but I shall die at peace. We are all of us . . . all human 
beings . . . powerless. . . . Some of us are vessels of ideas. 
... If the vessel is caught in man-made stupidity and 
torment . . . the vessel may be destroyed . . . but the 
idea remains. 

Milton. — T he idea remains. We as human beings are unimpor- 
tant. Yes. And I have my answer. Thank you, signor. 

Galileo. — Y ou’re a strange young man. How much longer are 
you staying with us ? 

Milton. — T here are signs of war, of struggle at home. ... I 
must go home. The will of our King is not the will or the good 
of our people. , . . Only a few of the people know it. . . . 
They will fight for their rights. I must be there. 

Galileo. — I wish you well. I wish I could live to see what you 
will do with your life. . . . 

Milton. — I shall never forget you. I would have walked across 
half the world to see you. . . . Perhaps I can carry back 
to England something of you in my heart. Signor Galileo. 
... I shall always remember ... I promise you. 

Music . — Few bars. 

L’ Allegro. — A nd now? 



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II Penseroso. — B efore he retxirns to his country he will learn 
of Charles Diodati’s death. The curtain rises on the second 
act. Do you not see a king’s crowned head fall ? 

L’ Allegro. — Y es. 

Il Penseroso. — T he boy Milton has been taught your way. 
The man Milton will be taught mine. 

L’Allegro. — I n the end may he learn both our ways. 

Il Penseroso. — B ut the end is not yet. King Charles the First 
of England is dead. . . . 

Music. 

Lawes. — J ohn, you’re working too steadily. 

Milton. — D on’t say that to me. Tell me . . . what are the 
people doing ? 

Lawes. — W eeping. They are in crowds all over the city. 

Milton. — O h, can’t you see? By beheading Charles they’ve 
made him a martyr. 

Lawes. — H e is a martyr, in a sense. 

Milton. — H arry . . . Harry . . . forget that you are primarily 
a musician and a Royalist. 

Lawes. — I f I hadn’t forgotten my sympathies for the Royalists I 
wouldn’t be here with you, John. 

Milton. — N o, of course you wouldn’t. When do you think I can 
venture out ? 

Lawes. — N ot now . . . not till the city is cahner. 

Milton. — O h, he died as an actor might. Trust the Stuarts to 
play their parts well . . . even to the end. And now nothing 
can be done for the people until that delusion of heroism 
is gone. 

Lawes. — {Ojff mike) John . . . come to the window. 

Milton. — W hat is it ? 

Lawes. — A carriage has stopped. ... A man has gotten out. 
He’s coming here. I’d better go. 

Milton. — N o . . . don’t. 

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THE STORY OF JOHN MILTON 



La WES. — I can’t stay here. If it’s a Roundhead you . . . he’d 
best not see you in my company ! 

Milton. — A y . . . well, go . . . my friend. Thank you for 
coming. Go quickly. Walk by him on the stairs and say 
nothing. 

La WES. — Good-by. ... (A short pause) 

Vane . — {Off mike) Mr. Milton. You are Milton. 

Milton. — C ome in. I’m sorry I don’t see very well . . . I . . . 

Vane. — I come on a hurried mission. 

Milton. — W ho are you? 

Vane . — {Moving slightly) I’m in the light now. . . . 

Milton. — S ir Harry Vane ! 

Vane. — C an we be heard here ? 

Milton. — N o. 

Vane. — I come from him . . . who was Lord Lieutenant of 
Ireland. . . . 

Milton. — C romwell. 

Vane. — C romwell . . . who is now Lord Protector of England. 

Milton. — G o on. 

Vane. — Y ou wrote the pamphlet, “ Areopagitica ” . . . about 
freedom of the press, about many things. You urged the 
Parliament on and showed them what to do. It made you 
many enemies. 

Milton. — W hat does Cromwell want of me ? 

Vane. — E ven since Charles’ death . . . the Royalists have 
pamphlets on the street that are doing irreparable damage 
to our cause. 

Milton. — Y ou mean the published prayers of King Charles of 
England. 

Vane. — T hey claim that they are the real prayers. . . . They 
claim that! Words have been changed, meanings have been 
diluted. . . . The people are now reading sentimental 
phrases which don’t represent the bigotry and selfishness 
of the dead king. Those pamphlets must be counteracted. 



275 



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BEST BROADCASTS OP 1938-39 

Milton. — I have been working on one called “The Tenure of 
Kings and Magistrates.” 

Vane. — W e know that. We want you to publish it immediately. 
This will lead to a political appointment for you ... so 
that you will be in a still better position to fight for what 
we all believe in. You will be made secretary for the “ Foreign 
Tongues” and you and your family will move to Whitehall. 

Milton. — I want to do an5rthing to serve the state. 

Vane. — T here is one other thing. . . . Your wife and her family 
are Royalists, are they not ? 

Milton. — Y es. But ... in these days of divided families . . . 
that can be no problem. 

Vane. — W e feel that it won’t be in your case. Your apartments 
at Whitehall will be beautifully furnished. ... You will 
use the King’s furniture . . . the King’s tapestries. . . . 
That should please your wife. . . . 

Milton. — S ir Harry Vane ... it is your duty to tell me what I 
must do. It’s my duty to obey Cromwell if I see fit. Your 
duty ends there. In these days the coimtry comes first. 
My pamphlet on the death of tyrants is at your command. 

Music. — Bridge. 

Vane. — H ere from your apartment in Whitehall, you can see 
where the scaffold was on which the King was put to death. 
You are now to help lay even the ghost of his memory. 

Milton. — S ir Harry, you don’t have to point out to me actuali- 
ties to make my blood flame. I’m not one of the herd to be 
pulled by the nose by relics . . . ghostly or otherwise. 
I don’t even approve of all that Cromwell is doing, but I 
do believe in the Commonwealth. . . . That’s why I’m 
here. 

Vane. — I beg your pardon. 

Milton. — N ow about this Claude de Saumaise ... or Sal- 
masius . . . and his printed defense of King Charles. 

Vane. — W hat shall you write? 

Milton. — I shall write a defense of the people of England. 

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THE STORY OF JOHN MILTON 



Vane. — T he tenor of your other writings, I presume ... is 
sufficient . . . to . . . er . . . 

Milton. — P rophesy the manner in which this will be written? 
Yes. 

Vane. — T he state is greatly pleased with your performance of 
your duties as secretary. You are invaluable. Mr. Milton, 
I came today to discuss Salmasius with you . . . but 
there’s another thing. . . . 

Milton. — W hat ? 

Vane. — Y our health. You don’t look as well as you might . . . 
and we hear that you are troubled by headaches . . . and 
your eyes. . . . You . . . 

Milton. — I t’s nothing. Nothing. I’ve had headaches from over- 
work since I can remember. ... A Httle eyestrain . . . 
that’s all. 

Vane. — A little! 

Milton. — Y es. It’s nothing, I tell you. I don’t want to speak 
of it! On my answer to Salmasius I shall spend all the 
strength I have. Oh, I shall make him laughed at, scorned 
and hated. ... If the young Charles who hopes to be the 
Second is giving him gold for his writings ... I shall make 
him feel that the gold is dearly spent. Because I have a 
great wealth of knowledge. Sir Harry, and it shall all be 
used to destroy false images and false gods ! 

Music. — Bridge. 

L’ Allegro. — B ut he cannot spend the rest of his life used by 
others . . . his pen an instrument of man’s hatred. 

Il Penseroso. — H e will serve the state about 12 years before 
he is done. . . . 

L’Allegro. — B ut he has his own work to do . . . work planned 
in a garden at Horton . . . work thought of in his earliest 
youth. 

Il Penseroso. — H e cannot do it now. The world of verse and 
singing beauty has no place ... in politics. 

L’Allegro. — A h, but . . . about 12 years, you say . . . then 
more is to come ? 



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BEST BROADCASTS OF 1938-39 



II Penseroso. — What he’s spending his health in preventing 
will come to pass. . . . Charles the Second will rule in 
England. 

L’ Allegro. — T he Restoration. Yes. I know of that. But there 
is a power, I tell you, that shapes even oiu' misfortunes. . . . 
You will see. 

Il Penseroso. — The restored King will feel little kindness 
toward his enemies. ... You will see. The curtain rises 
on the third act. . . . Listen. . . . 

Milton. — You aren’t writing, Mary, you aren’t writing! 

Mary. — How can I, father? How can I do anything . . . while 
we’re waiting for the coming of Sir Harry ! 

Milton. — Write. Take down what I say. 

“Wolves shall succeed for teachers, grievous Wolves, 
Who all the sacred mysteries of Heav’n 
To their own vile advantage shall turn . . . 

Mary. — I cannot. I cannot. “Paradise Lost” may never be 
finished. 

Milton. — “Paradise Lost” shall be finished. I’m not a human 
being any longer, Mary. I’m an instrument ... a vessel 
. . . you don’t understand that . . . but no matter . . . 
I may seem hard on you and your sister . . . but that’s 
not important either. . . . 

Mary. — I shall try to write. . . . Dictate it again, father. 

Milton. — “Wolves shall succeed for teachers, ...” 

Vane. — {Ojff mike) I’ve news of the Attorney General’s order. 

Milton. — L eave us, Mary. 

Mary. — Yes, father. 

Milton. — What is it ? What has Charles the Second decreed ? 

Vane. — {Fading in) There are seven names on the death list for 
high treason. 

Milton. — Well? 

Vane. — Yours is not among them . . . nor is mine . . . yet. 

278 



THE STORY OF JOHN MILTON 



Milton. — W ell ? 

Vane. — Y ou are accused of treason, though. You advocated the 
killing of a king. That cannot be forgotten. 

Milton. — W hat is the verdict . . . ? 

Vane. — U nderlings who’ve quoted from your books are to be 
put to death. 

Milton. — O h. 

Vane. — T here is to be a burning of your books. The King has 
issued a proclamation. All copies of your “Defense of the 
English People” and “ Eikonoklastes ” are called in and 
are to be burned by the common hangman. 

Milton. — W hy did he spare me ? 

Vane. — O h, Charles’ vengeance has reason in it. You are a 
public figure . . . and hated. If you were put to death . . . 
well, the public is fickle. . . . Who knows . . . yotir 
importance might turn you into too interesting a personage. 

Milton. — Y es, I understand. This then may be the end. . . . 

Vane. — W hat’s that ? 

Milton. — N othing . . . nothing. Thank you for coming. God 
go with you. {Board fade) Thank you. . . . 

Music. 

Sound. — Voices off mike or on echo. 

Milton. — I am lost. I am lost. 

Il Penseroso. — ^L ost! 

L’ Allegro. — ^L ost! 

Milton. — T hese gray holes that were my eyes have yielded to 
total blackness. Oh, blind Galileo, forgive me! Forgive me 
for not stretching forth my hand and blessing the darkness 
on your face . . . for not letting my tears fall that you 
might feel the human sympathy that lessens pain. 

Il Penseroso. — A re you finding divinity in your blindness, 
Milton ? 



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BEST BROADCASTS OF 1938-39 

Milton . — {Not answering him) There is no divinity in my 
blindness. To lose the world, to lose the sight of color, of 
dear faces . . . streets, the Thames, of all near, familiar 
things ... to sleep in darkness ... to wake in darkness. 
I am a human being, and I’ve lost the light. 

Il Penseroso. — ^L ost the light . . . 

Milton. — H ow is there virtue, valour or wisdom in human 
suffering? How can man profit by torment, O God? O 
fortune, is life, then, a riddle which we spend our span in 
solving . . . and never solve . . . and die? There can be 
no grandeur in life ... no grandeur in death. . . . 

Il Penseroso. — N o grandeur ... no glory. . . . 

Milton. — B lind among my enemies. . . . How can I fight ? 

L’ Allegro. — F ight ! 

Milton. — I s my existence, then, separate from God’s . . . 
and yet . . . I’ve been told that I was destined for high 
things. I’ve known all my life that my work must be done. 
I have walked in the presence of my enemies and known 
no fear. . . . 

L’ Allegro. — J ohn Milton . . . England has need of you ! 

Milton. — W hat of my dreams? What of my dreams . . . that 
men . . . free-bom, might find a lasting right to speak 
their wills and speaking be heard by all ... a common- 
wealth whose only creed is freedom and only ruler . . . 
God? 

Il Penseroso. — Y ou have received a mortal wound, Milton. 
You have been pierced by the sword of mortality. . . . 
Your blindness can cut off the vision of your soul and make 
you as other men. 

L’ Allegro. — T he soul can see by its own light. 

Milton. — I cannot be as other men. 

Il Penseroso. — Y our one talent is lodged within you . . . 
useless. 

Milton. — I must have patience. 

Il Penseroso. — P aradise was lost. . . . 

280 



THE STORY OF JOHN MILTON 

L’Allegro. — Ay, but Paradise . . . 

Milton. — Even Paradise was regained through a man’s suffering. 
Am I so little . . . am I so weak and imhappy that I let 
myself be caught in a mesh of small suffering compared to 
the way Paradise was regained . . . ? 

L’Allegro. — Milton . . . England has need of you ! 

Milton. — “God of our fathers, what is man!’’ Heaven works 
with a various hand that tempers our fortune. So at the 
height of noon may we who aspire to too much be struck 
down. But an eagle is still an eagle. From the ashes of 
despair the soul can rise new-armed. Ay, can rise from the 
ashes as that ancient bird, the Phoenix. If, by my own toil, 
I have fanned the flame that burned out my eyes . . . then 
from that darkness will be bom new eyes. All natural objects 
shut away ... I can see clearer into life itself. . . . My 
vision will not be blurred or turned aside 1 And so, O, Highest 
Wisdom, I submit. I am John Milton, whose sight was taken 
away that he might be given new eyes. 

Music. — Bridge. 

Narrator. — John Milton was one of the greatest men the world 
has ever produced. His poems are a monument to England. 
In his lyric period, his prose period and his epic period he 
wrote under the wings of genius. His was the first great 
voice raised for freedom of the press. He is comparable 
only to Shakespeare in greatness. There is no writing in the 
world that can surpass the beauty and grandeur of “ Paradise 
Lost,’’ “Paradise Regained,’’ and “Samson Agonistes.” And 
“L’Allegro,’’ “II Penseroso,’’ “Lycidas,” “Comus,” and all 
his earlier writings are the ones in which we first catch 
something of the clarity of his mind, the precision of his 
words, and the music of his spirit. 

Music. 

Announcer. — You have just listened to an NBC educational 
presentation, “Adventure in Reading,’’ by Helen Walpole 
and Margaret Leaf, bringing you dramatized episodes from 
the lives of the men and women who have written the 
world’s most exciting stories. 

This program was produced and directed by James Church. 
This is the National Broadcasting Company. 



281 



BEST CHILDREN’S SHOW (SCRIPT) 



The Nuremberg Stove 



by Nila Mack 
From Let’s Pretend 



HIS CHARMING fairy tale, familiar to millions of children 



all over the world, has become an annual event on the 
venerable Let’s Pretend program. Year after year it appears 
as a sort of command performance, insisted upon by chil- 
dren and parents alike. The original story presents two 
major problems in radio adaptation, both of which have 
been expertly resolved in this script. The first is a practical 
problem : to establish the child’s adoration of the stove. The 
second is a didactic problem: to teach the importance of 
genuineness and to make clear the value of true art. 

Nila Mack has handled this difficulty by a legitimate 
expansion of the scene in the antique shop. The magic hour 
of midnight plus the atmosphere of the shop itself make 
possible and feasible the animation of all the voiceless 
bric-a-brac in the scene; music boxes, the Cremona, the 
Dresden Shepherd and Shepherdess, and old Hirschvogel 
himself. The script at no time leaves the mental age limit 
for which it was written, and the integrity of the original, 
although elaborated upon, has been in no way harmed. The 
physical problem of moving the stove (with its voluntary 
prisoner) from place to place has been taken care of by 
proper use of sound (sleighbells, trains, boats, etc.), and 
the writing throughout is natural and human, an important 
point in this series, since the casts are made up of children. 

“Let’s Pretend’’ has been on the air each week for nine 
years. Under Miss Mack’s direction many child actors of 
prominence have been developed, among them the famous 
Mauch twins, Kingsley Colton, and Billy Halop of the 
“Dead End Kids.’’ The series has received awards and 




282 



THE NUREMBERG STOVE 



citations during every year of its production, and in the 
present year has already accumulated four, including that 
of the Women’s National Radio Committee, as the best 
children’s program on the air. Its great success as an edu- 
cational feature is explained by its being constantly 
entertaining. 



283 



The Nuremberg Stove* 



Sound. — Scene fades in with children laughing and talking. 

Dorothea. — Christof ! Ermingilda ! Albrecht ! Please. I can’t hear 
myself think. 

Sound. — All laugh. 

Albrecht. — You’re too busy getting supper to stop to think. 

Gilda. — Supper, Dorothea . . . supper. Gilda is hungry. 

Dorothea. — Of course you are, little Eyes-like-forget-me-nots. 
Dorothea will have yovur supper ready soon. 

Christof. — What are we having, Dorothea? 

Sound. — Dishes rattle. 

Dorothea. — Guess ! 

Albrecht. — Potato dmnplings. 

Dorothea. — No. 

Christof. — Pigtails and cabbage. 

Sound. — Stove lid clatters mildly. 

Albrecht. — Stuffed goose. 

Dorothea. — {Laughs) Albrecht. Stuffed goose, indeed! Why, 
that is for the rich people. 

Gilda. — Thoup 1 Thoup ! 

Dorothea. — (Laughs) Oh, boys . . . Gilda . . . the littlest 
. . . guesses it. You’re right, Ermingilda. Sister has steaming 
hot onion soup with a great big slice of fresh baked bread 
for each bowl. 

Christof. — Good ! When can we eat ? 

* Copyright, 1938, by the Columbia Broadcasting System, Inc. 

284 



THE NUREMBERG STOVE 



Dorothea. — P atience, brotherkins. Papa Karl is not back 
from the salt furnaces yet ... or August either. 

Sound. — Dishes rattle. 

Gilda. — A ugust come soon ? 

Dorothea. — Y es, little one . . . soon. . . . {Door opens . . . 
wind whistles and stops with closing of door) August . . . 
there you are. 

August. — H ello, Dorothea. {Children shout welcome greetings) 
Hello. . . . Oh, I’m so cold. My hands are numb. Albrecht, 
help me with my coat. Christof, please take my mittens. 
Hello, little Eyes-like-forget-me-nots. Been a good girl 
today ? 

Gilda. — V ery good. 

August. — O h, Hirschvogel . . . beloved. Oh, how warm you are. 
And how good it feels to be near you, blessed Hirschvogel. 

Dorothea. — A ugust Strehla! How can you kiss the feet of an 
old enameled stove ? 

August. — H irschvogel isn't an old enameled stove. Hirschvogel 
is my friend . . . our friend. He brings the summer to us in 
winter, and all through the icy days and nights he never 
wavers in his care of us. I adore Hirschvogel ! 

Dorothea. — A ll right, all right, little brother. I should have 
known better than to speak against Hirschvogel. 

Albrecht. — D orothea, I’m starving! Must we wait for papa 
Karl? 

Dorothea. — N o, Albrecht. . . . After all, papa Karl may be 
late, and so we will have our soup now and keep his hot for 
him, when he comes. 

All. — {Welcome this with ad lib, "Good. Fm hungry," etc.) 

Gilda. — T houp. Thoup. Please, Dor’the . . . thoup. 

Dorothea. — A ll right, little Gilda. Come along and I’ll put you 
in your high chair. And after supper let’s ask August to 
tell us a story. 

Gilda. — W ill August write a cow for Gilda ? 

285 



BEST BROADCASTS OF 1938-39 



All. — (Laugh) 

Dorothea. — Y es, Gilda, dear . . . August will write a cow for 
you. Now then . . . wait a minute, baby . . . Dorothea 
will put you in your chair. Come along, yoimgsters. (Chairs 
are pushed up to the table) Watch the soup, Albrecht. . . . 
Don’t spill it. Christof . . . are your hands clean ? 

Christof. — C lean as Kirschvogel’s, Dorothea. 

All. — (Laugh) 

Dorothea. — J ust a minute. Wait, baby. Bow your little head. 
That’s right. (Very reverently) Give us, first, God, love for 
Thee. And fill our hearts with gratitude for Thy loving 
care. Amen. (Dishes rattle) All right, Gilda. . . . Here’s 
your soup. 

Albrecht. — O h, this soup is good. 

Christof. — A nd hot! 

All. — (Laugh) 

August. — A nd fresh baked bread (start to Jade). It tastes good, 
too. I didn’t know I was so hungry. 

(Board fade . . . completely out. Fade in) 

Dorothea. — H ave we finished? Just a minute, Gilda. No, no 
. . . you must sit very still for just one second. Bow the 
little head. 

Gilda. — I t’s bowed, Dorothea. 

Dorothea. — T hat’s right. Heavenly Father, we thank Thee for 
the Good Thou has bestowed upon us. Amen. . . . All 
right. 

Sound . — Chairs push back. 

Christof. — C ome on, August. . . . Tell us a story. 

Albrecht. — T ell us about Hirschvogel. 

August. — A ll right. . . . Let’s all sit around Hirschvogel’s 
golden feet, and I will tell you a story. 

Dorothea. — F irst, you’d better feed Hirschvogel, August. He’s 
probably hungry. 

286 



THE NUREMBERG STOVE 



August. — O f course I’ll feed you, blessed friend. {Stove door 
opens. Wood is lifted and dropped in.) There you are. {Stove 
door shuts) Look, Albrecht . . . Christof . . . look how he 
smiles and thanks me by glowing. 

Gilda. — H ere, August . . . here . . . charcoal stick. 

August. — {Laughs) All right. I’ll draw your pictures and tell a 
story at the same time. How’s that ? 

Albrecht. — S it with us, Dorothea. 

Dorothea. — I can’t Albrecht. I must put papa Karl’s soup on the 
back of the stove and then straighten the table. 

Christof. — A ll right, August. Tell us about Hirschvogel. 

August. — W hat do you want to know first ? 

Christof. — F irst . . . how the stove got his name. 

Dorothea. — {Laughs) He’s told you a million times, Christof. 

Christof. — B ut I want to hear it again. 

August. — A nd I love to tell it. All right, Christof. Hirschvogel 
was a famous potter and painter who lived in Nuremberg, 
and he was known all over the world for the beautiful stoves 
he made. You see his initials on the stove . . . right 
there. . . . 

Christof. — I see them . . . H.R.H. . . . 1532. 



August. — Yes, he marked all his stoves Hke that. And if Hirsch- 
vogel, here, could talk he could tell us of all the millions of 
people he has warmed. 

Albrecht. — Kings and princesses, do you think ? 

August. — Of course. 

Christof. — The crimson stockings of cardinals, maybe ? 

August. — And gold-broidered shoes of duchesses too ? 

Gilda. — {Yawns) And brownies and fairies, August? 

August. — Who should say no. Forget-me-not-eyes? After all, 
there must be fairies, or how else could grandfather Strehla 
ever had the luck to find Hirschvogel ? 



28y 



BEST BROADCASTS OF 1938-39 

Gilda. — August! Write Gilda . . . a . 

to sleep) 



a 



{Goes 




August. — {Laughs) Write Gilda a lullaby. Dorothea, she’s fast 
asleep. 

Dorothea. — I’ ll take her, August. Those blue eyes are fast shut. 
Come along to yotu- cradle, baby. 

Sound. — Door opens . . . shuts. 

Albrecht. — G o on, August. Who are the four golden kings on 
each corner ? 

August. — W ell, let me see. . . . That one was probably 
Charlemagne. And facing him there with the golden shield 
. . . that’s the good King Wencelaus. At the far comer , . . 
let me see . . . that’s John the Good. And the last one . . . 
that is Richard the Lionheart. 

Albrecht. — A nd where is his lionheart ? 

August. — {Laughs) Albrecht, that means because he was so 
brave and fearless. 

Christof. — I love the panels of enamel with their holly and 
roses and laurel. What do they mean, August ? 

August. — The panels represent the Ages of Man. There’s the 
Child . . . see . . . and next is the Young Man. . . . 
Then comes the Father . . . and last . . . this one with 
the laurel wreath and mottoes . . . that’s the Old Man. 

Albrecht. — A nd the golden crown, away, way up on the top 
with the jewels . . . who did that belong to ? 

August. — W ell, let’s say tonight that it’s August Hirschvogel’s 
own crown that some great and good king gave him for 
making such handsome stoves. Oh, dear Hirschvogel! 
You deserve a crown, for you are so steadfast. Why, you 
are as great as the sun . . . better, I think, sometimes, 
because he leaves us for many long cold hours, but you . . . 
you make sxunmer for us the whole winter through. 

Sound. — Door opens and shuts. 

Dorothea. — A lbrecht . . . Christof . . . time for bed. 

Albrecht. — O h, no, Dorothea ... we want to hear more about 
Hirschvogel. 

288 



THE N UREMBERG STOVE 



Dorothea. — B ut not tonight, Albrecht. Your bed is waiting 
for you. 

Christof. — W e’ll talk about it tomorrow, August ? 

August. — I ndeed we will. Good night. 

Albrecht and Christof . — (Ad lib good night) 

Sound . — Door opens and shuts. 

Dorothea. — I wonder what keeps papa Karl. He is very late 
tonight. 

Sound . — Door opens . . . mind blows . . . door shuts . . . wind 
stops. 

Dorothea. — O h, there you are, papa. 

August. — I’ ll help you with your coat, papa. Oh, you are cold. 

Karl. — I t’s bitter out tonight. And the hearts of men are as 
cold as the snows of the Tyrol. 

Dorothea. — W hy, what’s the matter, papa? Has anything 
happened ? 

Karl. — B esides the butcher, the grocer, the miller . . . hound- 
ing me for money ? Yes . . . much has happened. 

August. — S it here by Hirschvogel, papa, and we will bring 
your nice hot soup to you. 

Karl. — I don’t want the soup. 

Dorothea. — O h, but you must eat, dear papa Karl. Really you 
must. 

August. — W hat has happened, papa ? 

Karl. — (Pause) I have sold Hirschvogel ! (A slight pause) 

August. — S old Hirschvogel ! 

Dorothea. — O h, father . . . the children! And in midwinter! 

August . — (Absolutely stunned) It isn’t true ! It can’t be true 

Karl. — I t is true. And would you like to know something else 
that is true ? The bread you eat . . . the meat in the stew 
. . . the roof over your heads . . . none of them is paid for. 
Two himdred florins won’t take care of all of it . . . but 

289 



BEST BROADCASTS OF 1938-39 

it will help . . . and Hirschvogel will be carted oS tomorrow 
morning. 

Dorothea. — A ugust . . . darling , . . don’t look like that ! 

August. — (I n tears) Oh, papa . . . you cannot mean it. You 
cannot sell oiu: comfort . . . our very life ! Oh, papa, listen. 
Tomorrow I will go out and get work . . . will go to 
the people you owe and explain to them. They will under- 
stand. But to sell Hirschvogel! Never, never, never! Oh, 
papa, give them back the 200 florins. ... I beg you, on 
my knees ! (Sobs) 

Karl. — Y ou are a fool. Get up! The stove is sold and goes to 
Munich tomorrow at daylight. 

Sound. — Door opens and shuts. 

August. — (Sobbing) He can’t! He can’t sell you, Hirschvogel. 
He can’t tear the sim out of the heavens like that. He can’t. 

Dorothea. — O h, darling August. Don’t! You’ll bum your lips 
if you kiss the stove. Get up, darling. Come to bed. You’ll 
be calmer tomorrow, . . . 

August. — L eave me alone. I shall stay with Hirschvogel. Go 
away. 

Dorothea. — B ut the room is getting cold, dear. We mustn’t 
use any more wood tonight. 

August. — I t will never be warm again. Never. (Sobs jade out) 

Sound. — Clock fades in, ticking. Let ticking run a moment pretty 
loudly. Clock strikes jour . . . door opens and shuts . . . 
rooster crows faintly. This is followed immediately by the 
sound of the creaking well chain at the public watering place. 

Old Lady. — W ell, little neighbor August, you’re up early. ’Tis 
scarcely light enough for me to see to draw the water from 
the well. 

August. — I have not slept all night. 

Lady. — ^L ittle fellows need sleep if they’re to grow into fine big 
men. 

August. — I do not wish to grow. I do not wish to live. 

2Q0 



THE N UREMBERG STOVE 



Lady. — N ow, that’s no way for a youngster to talk, What ails 
thee, neighbor? 

August. — M y father has sold Hirschvogel, and today . . . 
within the hour . . . they will come to take my friend 
away. Oh, I wish I were dead. (Sobs) 

Lady. — S old Hirschvogel? Then he must have gotten a fine 
sum for it. ’Tis a magnificent stove, that. 

August. — H e has sold my whole world . . . for 200 florins. 

Lady. — F aith, now, and the man’s a fool to let a masterpiece 
like a genuine Hirschvogel go for that. Why didn’t he trade 
with an honest dealer if he must sell it ? 

August. — O ne shouldn’t sell a living thing for money. (Sobs) 

Lady. — I f I were you I’d do better than cry. . . . I’d go with it. 

August. — (Brightening) Go with it. . . . Do you think I’d dare? 

Lady. — (Laughs) If I loved something and had been done out 
of it I’d stand by until I got at least a fair price. 

August. — B ut how can I go with it ? 

Lady. — W ell, ’tis not for me to say . . . but there is plenty of 
room inside the stove for a tiny lad like you. 

August. — A nd perhaps I could find a way to buy it back. 

Lady. — W ho knows! Look . . . here is a loaf of bread and a 
sausage I was taking home. I’ll give them to you, August. 
And I’ll leave the rest to you. 

August. — O h, thank you. Madam Otho . . . (fades) thank you. 

Music. — Sleigh bells and horses' hoofs on snow fade in and stop. 

Steiner. — W hoa! (Calls) Karl Strehla! Strehla! 

Karl. — (Off mike) Aye! Come in, Steiner. We’re expecting you. 
Come along. 

Steiner. — W e have come for the old stove. It is ready? Come 
on, Fritz. 

Dorothea. — O h, papa Karl . . . must they take it now ? 

Karl. — A ye . . . and go along. ’Tis better to get it out quickly. 



BEST BROADCASTS OF 1938-39 
Dorothea. — P apa, where is August ? 

Karl. — I can’t be bothered with a lad who cries all the time. 

Dorothea. — B ut, papa ... all night long he lay on the floor by 
Hirschvogel sobbing his heart out. 

Karl. — O h! {weakening) Steiner! Would you ... I mean . . . 
would you take back the 200 florins and let the stove stay? 

Dorothea. — P apa ! 

Albrecht. — O h, papa Karl. 

Christop. — O h, mister, please say you will. 

Steiner. — {Laughs) Oh, now, what foolishness. A bargain’s a 
bargain . . . and you got more than a fair price. Come on, 
Fritz . . . we’ve wasted plenty of time. Lift ’er up there. 

Fritz. — H old it a minute. {Stove scraping and humping as they 
pick it up) All right. 

Steiner. — O pen the door, will you, Strehla ? 

Fritz. — E asy, there . . . take ’er over a little . . . little more. 
Steiner. — W atch these steps, Fritz. 

Sound. — Stove scrapes. 

Fritz. — E asy now! 

Steiner. — {Fading) Better back ’er up a little. 

Fritz. — T urn your end around for the sleigh. 

Albrecht. — {Off mike) Good-by, Hirschvogel. 

Christop. — {Crying) We’ll never see him again. 

Gilda. — B ye, bye, “Kirtsvokle.” 

Dorothea. — F arewell, kind friend. 

Steiner. — {Off mike) Get up! Get up! 

Sound. — Sleigh bells and horses’ hoofs start and Jade out. A slight 
pause. Bring in incoming train and pull it up to a stop. 

Voice. — G et a move on there, men. This train can’t wait all 
night. What y’ got ? 

Steiner. — G ive us a hand, will you ? This stove is heavy. 

2Q2 



THE N UREMBERG STOVE 



Fritz. — C arefiil there, fellow. Load her on easy. 

Harry. — A stove, eh ? No wonder you had to wait for the freight 
goods train. All right . . . hoist ’er . . . easy . . . {Other 
men grunt) All right. 

Steiner. — T hat check all right ? 

Harry. — Y eah. Headed for Bavaria, eh? 

Steiner. — By way of Marrienplatz. We go by express and meet 
it there. 

Harry. — W atch it . . . there’s the signal. 

Sound. — Start train record here. 

Steiner. — A uf wiedersehen, Herr Hirschvogel. We’ll meet in 
Marrienplatz. 

Sound. — Anticipate record of train leaving station so that this can 
run 15 seconds. 

{Fade out. Fade in) 

Music. — Sleigh bells and horses' hoofs. 

Steiner. — {Off mike) Whoa! {Horses stop) Thank heaven, we’re 
home! 

Fritz. — {Off mike) 1 never saw the old curiosity shop look so 
good. 

Steiner. — {Off mike) Unlock the door. . . . One more minute 
and our job will be through. 

Fritz. — {Nearer mike) All right. {Unlocks door. It opens next 
speech in mike) 

Steiner. — {Off mike) Come on. . . . Give me a lift with old 
Hirschvogel. 

Fritz. — {Off mike) AH right. Got ’er ? 

Steiner. — Yep. Go ahead! {Feet are heard and bumping of stove) 
Easy there ! 

Fritz. — {Off mike) Where shall we put it ? {Feet hit wooden floor 
of shop) 

Steiner. — P ut him over there between the old Dutch clock and 
the Chinese idols. Careful ! Don’t sttunble over those 
Turkish rugs. {Stove bumps as it settles) There ! 



293 



BEST BROADCASTS OF 1938-39 

Fritz. — {Relieved) I’ll say, “There.” Shall I iinwrap it? 

Steiner. — J ust take oflE that front covering. {Paper rattles, and 
cloth rips) Oh, Fritz! We have something precious here. 

Fritz. — H err Steiner ... is it such a fine stove? 

Steiner. — F ine? Wunderschon! Fritz, my boy. . . . Now that 
it’s really here in the old curiosity shop. I’ll tell you we have 
a fortune. Here . . . here is the finest thing of its kind in 
the world. {Laughs) And wait imtil the king sees it I 

Fritz. — I t goes to the king, then? 

Steiner. — A ye, my lad . . . and for a fabulous sum, too. But 
come . . . it’s nearly 12 o’clock. Tomorrow we sail at 
dawn for Bavaria. Come on. Let’s get home and get some 
sleep. Lock the door of the shop. 

Sound . — In order named, door opens and shuts and locks . . . 
clock strikes 12 . . . whiz bang. 

Shepherd. — A t last! Twelve o’clock. Now the old curiosity shop 
belongs to us. Good evening, Dresden Shepherdess. 

Shepherd. — G ood evening, Dresden Shepherd! That’s a fine 
old Hirschvogel that came in tonight. 

Music . — Music box starts. 

Dutch Jug. — O h, good! The Nuremberg music box has come to 
life. . . . Come on, goblets . . . let’s have a dance. 

Sound . — Crystal goblets clinking in time to the music. 

Shepherdess. — {Laughs) Look . . . Dutch Jug . . . the Vene- 
tian goblets are already dancing. 

Dutch Jug. — S o they are. 

Jade Dragon . — {In very deep voice) Dutch Jug, will you dance 
with me ? 

Dutch Jug. — G ladly, Mr. Jade Dragon. 

Shepherdess. — D utch Jug and Jade Dragon dance very well, 
don’t they ? 

Shepherd. — B ut so do you, Dresden Shepherdess. Let’s jump 
down from the mantel and join them. 



294 



THE NUREMBERG STOVE 



Shepherdess. — Certainly, Dresden Shepherd. {Music box and 
goblets stop) Oh, the music box has stopped. Shall we ask the 
old Cremona to play a minuet for us ? 

Shepherd. — Not even our precious Cremona could refuse you, 
Dresden china lady. 

Albert. — {Deep voice) The violins of Cremona have played 
before the royalty of Dresden for years, my lady. I shall be 
happy to play while you dance. 

Music. — Boccherrini minuet starts. At this point stove door rattles 
pretty loudly. Music stops on cue. Stove rattles. 

August. — {Timidly) Hello! 

Shepherdess. — Why, what in the world ? 

Shepherd. — It’s a boy ... a little boy in the old Hirschvogel 
stove. 

Princess. — Why, fancy that ! 

August. — Oh, please, may I come out? You sound so friendly 
. . . and I’m so thirsty I can’t stand it much longer. 

Shepherdess. — Of course you may come out. Poor little tot . . . 
he’s faint from thirst. 

Shepherd. — You, Japanese Bronze Dragon, help me open this 
window. ... We can get snow from the window sill. 
{Window opens) There you are. Clean, sparkling snow. 

August. — Thank you . . . oh, thank you, little Shepherd. 

Shepherd. — You must have been in that stove for days. We 
heard them talk about the trip. 

Princess. — Are you hungry, little fellow ? {Window shuts) 

August. — Not so very, thank you. You see, I had some bread 
and sausage . . . but I couldn’t get out to get any water. 
Oh, this tastes good. 

Princess. — Have some more. 

August. — Thank you. Where am I, please ? 

Shepherd. — You’re in the famous old curiosity shop of Marrien- 
platz. This lady is the Copenhagen Porcelain Princess of 
Saxe-Royale. 



295 



BEST BROADCASTS OF 1938-39 

Princess. — How do you do? 

Shepherd. — This Dresden china Shepherdess and I have stood 
side by side for years on the mantelpiece of a king. 

August. — What beautiful things you all are. But tell me, how 
is it that you people can speak ? 

Princess. — My dear child, is it possible that you don’t know ? 

August. — I’m sorry, I don’t. 

Albert. — It is because we are real. 

Shepherdess. — Those other stupid things are imitation. 

Princess. — They never wake up. 

Dutch Jug. — You see, after midnight all the genuine antiques in 
the shop come to life. 

August. — Oh. . . . Then if that is true, why can’t my beloved 
Hirschvogel speak to me ? 

Hirschvogel. — (Deep majestic voice) I can . . . while we are 
here, my little friend. 

August. — Hirschvogel! My friend! Oh . . . how wonderful to 
hear your voice! Tell me more. 

Hirschvogel. — We were made by artists of integrity, of faith, 
and high ideals. They put their hearts in their work, and 
their love of God shows in the perfection of their creations. 
You, little friend, love me because, in your childish way, 
3'^ou love art. You, Hke the masters of old, scorn sham and 
haste and imitation. All your life, my son, you must remem- 
ber this night. You were named for August Hirschvogel. 
He led a wise and blameless life. He wrought in loyalty and 
love. He taught the value of genuine worth. Be like him 
always, my little friend. 

August. — O h, dear Hirshvogel, I love you so. 

Hirschvogel. — And I love you. I have been honored by em- 
perors; but my greatest happiness was in your humble 
dwelling, where little children gathered at my feet to sing 
and laugh. 

August. — And must I leave you, Hirschvogel? 

2Q6 



THE N UREMBERG STOVE 



Hirschvogel. — I think not. Tomorrow we go to a famous person 
with an understanding heart. 

August. — Oh. . . . Then may I go with you ? 

Hirschvogel. — Since you came this far. Then we shall see. Now, 
the witching hour is nearly ended. The time for speech is 
short, Dresden Shepherdess . . . lull my little friend to 
slumberland with your song. 

Music. — Music box. 

Shepherd. — {After song) Our little friend nods. He’s very tired. 

Princess. — Little lullaby lady, rock your melody cradle for him. 

Music. — Brahms' "Lullaby” . . . music box. Princess softly 
sings to its melody. 

{Fade out) 

Sound. — Sleigh bells fade in horses’ hoofs. 

Councilor. — Your Majesty! Your Majesty! 

King. — Yes, Councilor. What is it? 

Councilor. — It’s here, sire. The Nuremberg stove. They’re 
bringing it up the palace steps now. 

King. — Excellent! Page, open the doors. 

Councilor. — But the draft, sire . . . 

King. — I care not for drafts. {Door opens) I want to see Hirsch- 
vogel’s masterpiece. 

Steiner. — {Fading in) Easy there. 

Sound. — Footsteps and bumping as they carry the stove. 

Fritz. — I got ’er. Lift the end around. 

Steiner. — {Grunting) Where shall we put it, please ? 

King. — Here. Put it in the corridor. {Stove bumps and settles) 
Ah! Councilor . . . quickly . . . unwrap it. Help him, 
men. 

Sound. — Paper rattles . . . cloth rips. 

Councilor. — There you are. Majesty. 



297 



BEST BROADCASTS OF 1938-39 



King. — Ah, wunderschon . . . wunderschon ... it is per- 
fect! H.R.H., 1532. And look, Councilor . . . the gold 
figures . . . the crown at the top . . . the ages of man 
here on the enamel panels . . . and the door itself . . . 
how beautifully . . . 

Sound. — Of iron stove door being rattled and opened. 

August. — {Frightened hut determined) How do you do! 

Sound. — General hubbub of excitement. 

King. — W ell, upon my word! A child ... a little boy in the 
stove. 

Councilor. — T he little ruffian! Men. Take this ragged knave 
away. 

Steiner. — H e’s not mine. 

Fritz. — N or mine. 

Steiner. — H ey, you ! How dare you . . . 

King. — A moment! Well, youngster! What are you doing here? 

August. — O h, please, meinheer, let me stay. I’ve come all the 
way with Hirschvogel. Please don’t take me away now. 

Councilor. — S uch impudence ! 

King. — S ilence, Councilor. My child, come here. How came 
you here, hidden in this stove? Don’t be afraid, but tell 
me the truth. I am the King. 

August. — O h, dear sire! Hirschvogel belonged to us. I can’t 
bear to part with him. Please let me stay and take care of 
him ! Hirschvogel loves me. . . . He does indeed ! 

King. — {Very gently) What is your name? 

August. — A ugust Strehla, sir. 

King. — H ow much did your father get for the stove, August ? 

August. — F or 200 florins, sir, he sold my life. 

King. — I see. You . . . you merchant who sold me the stove 



Steiner. — {Frightened) Yes, Your Majesty. 
2q8 



THE N UREMBERG STOVE 



King. — Y ou bought the stove for 200 florins? 

Steiner. — Y- yes, sire. In a way . . . 

King. — And then you asked me 2,000 ducats! 

Steiner. — W ell, you see, it was this way . . . 

King. — I see! The first thing we do is this. Councilor, see that 
this merchant returns to the Tyrol, pays Herr Strehla 
2,000 ducats, less the 200 florins he received! 

Steiner. — {Moaning Ay ! Ay ! 

King. — A nd also that he takes him a stove to replace this one. 

Steiner. — B ut, Your Majesty, I wouldn’t . . . 

King. — O ne more word from you . . . and you get what you 
deserve. . . . Now go! 

Steiner. — I’ m going. Er . . . come on, Fritz. 

Sound. — Footsteps heard . . . door opens and shuts. 

August. — T wo thousand ducats! My father will never have to 
work again. 

King. — D oes that please you ? 

August. — Y es, Your Majesty. But . . . would you please let 
me stay here, with Hirschvogel? I beg you to, my King! 

King. — R ise up, little man. Kneel only to your God. What do 
you want to be when you grow up ? 

August. — A painter, dear King. I wish to be like the master, 
Hirschvogel. 

King. — V ery well, August. You may stay. You will take lessons 
from the greatest painters we can find. And if, when you 
have come of age, you have done well and bravely, then I 
will give you Hirschvogel for yotu* very own. 

August. — (Delighted) Oh, dear Edng! Hirschvogel told me that 
night in the old curiosity shop we were going to a famous 
person with an understanding heart. 

King. — H irschvogel . . . told you that ? 

August. — Y es sire. . . . Truly he told me that. 



299 



BEST BROADCASTS OF 1938-39 



King. — {Laughs very gently) And who shall say, then, that he 
did not? For what is the gift of truly great artists if it is 
not to see visions, to feel rhythms, to hear sounds that we 
others cannot hear! 

Music. — Up to finish. 

Announcer. — So ends the story of the Nuremberg Stove, and 
another story wish has come true. Was this your favorite? 
If not, write to Let’s Pretend in care of this station, and we 
will try to make your favorite come true. 



300 



BEST CHILDREN’S EDUCATIONAL 
PROGRAM 

New Horizons 

by Hans Christian Adamson 
From the American School of the Air 



^SLSLSlSLSLSLSLSlSlSLSLSLSLSlSLSLSlSlSLSLS^^ 

T he most sustained, thoroughgoing educational effort 
in contemporary radio is without question Columbia’s 
American School of the Air. For a half hour each day during 
the school year it broadcasts to millions of classrooms in 
every state in the country dramatizations, talks, discus- 
sions, and musical programs of considerable value. A pro- 
nounced effort is made to play these programs so that they 
will appear on the air at a time when they can be of definite 
supplementary use to the existing syllabuses throughout 
the country. 

William C. Bagley, recently retired as Professor of Edu- 
cation, Teachers College, Columbia University, is and has 
been for some time chairman of the Board of Consultants 
of the Educational Division at CBS. His statement regard- 
ing the American School will serve as well as anything 
that I could write to make clear to the reader the objectives 
of this vast educational project, and I should like to quote 
him briefly. 

The American School of the Air enters its tenth year of broad- 
casting with the second semester of the 1938-39 season. The 
increasing favor with which its programs have been received 
warrants the belief that it is meeting a real need. 

From the outset the American School of the Air has recog- 
nized that a radio program is truly educational only as it elicits 
a response on the part of those who listen, only as it gives rise 
to a desirable change in thought or feeling or action, only as it 
contributes in a positive and constructive way to clarity of 
understanding, to discrimination in judgment, to an enhanced 



301 



BEST BROADCASTS OF 1938-39 

appreciation of worthy values. The topics and materials of the 
programs are selected on the basis of their probable influence 
in evoking such responses. To this end, the American School 
of the Air from the outset published and distributed a Manual 
for teachers which includes suggestions for discussions, readings, 
projects, and activities which, it is hoped, will be of substantial 
aid in making dynamic whatever values may inhere in the 
programs. To this end, too, those in charge of the broadcasts 
greatly desire and warmly welcome suggestions and criticisms 
from teachers, from pupils, and from other listeners-in who are 
interested in the educational possibilities of this relatively new 
agency of communication. 

In the preparation of its programs the American School of the 
Air has been fortunate in enlisting the cooperation of recognized, 
important, and responsible educational institutions and organiza- 
tions. This policy insures for the materials of the broadcasts 
an authenticity which it wotdd be difficult if not impossible 
otherwise to provide. Among the programs scheduled in the 
present Manual, “This Living World” is produced in cooperation 
with the National Education Association. The Progressive Educa- 
tion Association has similarly cooperated in the preparation of 
“Frontiers of Democracy.” “Tales from Far and Near” is 
presented in conjunction with the association for Arts in Child- 
hood, the American Library Association and the National Coim- 
cil of Teachers of English. The National Education Association 
and the American Museum of Natural History are jointly 
collaborating in the production of the series “New Horizons.” 

The piece that I have chosen for this anthology is not 
new in technique, nor startling in content, and it is without 
literary value. It is, however, of tremendous educational 
value. It has carefully avoided dramatizing a subject that 
would appeal to most novices as being highly dramatizable. 
Instead the subject has been handled in the only way by 
which it can be properly done: by the use of the simplest 
of conversational structures. This treatment has two very 
important factors : a true quality of informality and a feel- 
ing in the listeners (school children) that they are over- 
hearing that most exciting of all things, adtdt conversation 
on events that are happening in a grown-up world. I do not 
need to point out the psychological advantage here. 



302 



NEW HORIZONS 



Of hardly less importance is the function in the script of 
Helen Lyon. To the reader her presence might at first 
appear superfluous, even irritating. To the child listener, 
however, she has great value, for she represents the average 
inquisitive intelligent person and spends her time asking 
Dr. Andrews and his guests the questions the listener him- 
self might wish to ask if he or she had the chance. In other 
words, it is through Miss Lyon that the audience has par- 
ticipant access to the show. 

“New Horizons” is the Friday series of the American 
School of the Air, and it deals with adventures, exploration 
in research, and progress in natural science. The programs 
originate from the various exhibit halls in the American 
Museum of Natural History in New York City. Dr. Roy 
Chapman Andrews, world-famous explorer and author, is 
host and commentator for the program and in these 
capacities has been enormously efficient and likable; he is 
a natural radio personality. 

The scripts for the series are written by Hans Christian 
Adamson, assistant to the President of the American 
Museum and the director of its Public Relations. Adamson, 
a Dane by birth, began his activities as a newspaperman 
and is well known to American readers as the author of 
any number of books and magazine articles on aviation 
and exploration. His great skill as a writer for programs 
directed to juvenile audiences is explained by the simplicity 
of his writing and his capacity for the visual phrase or 
sentence. Here is the broadcast of April 26, 1939. 



303 



New Horizons* 



QaaOgJS^O QOSagOP OflgnnOOflflg.agflgaflflOOQQQOQQQQQQQOO( 

Sound. — Trumpet call. 

Announcer. — Coltimbia’s American School of the Air, with the 
cooperation of the American Museum of Natural History 
and the National Education Association presents New 
Horizons, a program of adventure, discovery, and explora- 
tion which comes to you from the director’s room in the 
American Museum, with Dr. Roy Chapman Andrews, 
famous explorer, as your host and commentator. . . . 
Today we sail for the South Pacific, to those fabled islands 
of spice and pearls of the South Seas . . . where the 
rolling swells of the Pacific throw their sprays on simht 
shores and where strange and interesting forms of animal 
hfe are formd on land and in the sea. ... So ... all 
aboard. . . . Pull the whistle cord. . . . 

Sound. — One long blast of steamship whistle, followed by three short 
blasts. 

Announcer. — Let go aft. . . . Let go forward. . . . Start the 
engines. . . . 

Sound. — Engine room telegraph bell rings, followed by pulsation 
of ship's engines, followed by three sharp blasts of whistle. 
Continue engine. 

Announcer. — Our first port of call as we leave Columbia’s down- 
town studios is the American Museiim of Natural History, 
where we will pick up Dr. Andrews and his guests. . . . 
Ahoy there. Dr. Andrews! . . . Are you ready to come 
aboard and take command ? 

(Switch to museum) 

Dr. Roy Chapman Andrews. — Yes, Mr. King. Here we are 
all set for our South Sea journey. And as we get tmder way, I 
want to introduce my fellow travelers. ... I know you 
will be glad to meet Mrs. Mary Sheridan Fahnestock, who 

* Copyright, 1938, by the Columbia Broadcasting System, Inc. 

304 



NEW HORIZONS 



spent a whole year exploring the South Seas with her two 
sons, Bruce and Sheridan Fahnestock, aboard a sturdy 
little 65-foot schooner. . . . That must have been an exciting 
adventure, Mrs. Fahnestock. 

Mrs. Mary Sheridan Fahnestock. — Of course it was. Dr. 
Andrews. Here I am . . . old enough to be a grandmother. 
... As a matter of fact, I am a grandmother . . . and yet 
I ran away to sea at the age of fifty. But of course . . . my 
adventures in the South Seas were nothing compared to 
those of Dr. Miner. 

Dr. Roy W. Miner. — Well, I don’t know about that, Mrs. 
Fahnestock. From what I hear, you had some rather inter- 
esting experiences. 

Andrews. — Yes . . . and we are all looking forward to hearing 
about them. But before we go on, let me present Dr. Roy W. 
Miner, who is also with us today. As an explorer. Dr. Miner 
is in a class by himself, for during the past 25 years he has 
gone to the bottom of the sea in quest of new horizons for 
science, including the pearl lagoons in the South Sea Islands. 
. . . Another member of our party is Miss Helen Lyon, a 
frequent shipmate on our radio journeys for New Horizons. 
. . . And now that everything is shipshape and Bristol 
fashion, let us set our course for the Island of Tongareva, 
famous throughout the world for its pearl fisheries. . . . 
Full speed ahead! 

Sound. — Ringing of engine telegraph, followed by three sharp 
blasts on whistle. Bring up engines to full volume and fade out. 

Miss Helen Lyon. — {On cue) I hope we have smooth sailing, 
Mrs. Fahnestock, and that we don’t run into any storms. 

Mrs. Fahnestock. — Oh, there are worse things than storms on 
the Pacific, Miss Lyon. When we were on our way to Ton- 
gareva, we ran into doldrums. 

Andrews. — You mean dead calm weather, with not a breeze 
stirring ? 

Mrs. Fahnestock. — That’s right. Dr. Andrews. , . . For seven 
solid days there wasn’t enough wind to make a candle flicker. 

Andrews. — But didn’t you have an engine . . . some sort of a 
motor aboard the ship ? 



305 



BEST BROADCASTS OF 1938-39 

Mrs. Fahnestock. — O h, yes ... we had a brand new Diesel 
engine. We started it when the wind died down. For a few 
hours it ran like a watch, and we rushed through the water 
at fine speed. Then the engine began to throw oil, and finally 
it gave a queer snapping sound and stopped dead. 

Lyon. — M y . . . right in mid-ocean ! 

Mrs. Fahnestock. — Y es . . . and the ocean was as smooth as 
a mirror . . . not a ripple on it anywhere. Oiir sails were 
useless in a case like that. Otu motor wouldn’t tick. There 
was only one thing to do . . . and that was to sit down and 
wait. 

Lyon. — B ut weren’t you worried, Mrs. Fahnestock ? 

Mrs. Fahnestock. — N o. . . . There wasn’t anything to be 
worried about. It was just a case of watchful waiting for the 
wind. 

Andrews. — B ut the heat . . . you must have been very 
uncomfortable . 

Mrs. Fahnestock. — Y es, Dr. Andrews, . . . the days were 
unbearable. The sun shone from six to six . . . twelve 
solid hours of blazing sim and never a cloud in the sky. . . . 
Day after day for seven solid days. . . . 

Miner. — I’ ve heard about ships and sailors being becalmed at 
sea by doldrums for so long that they ran out of water. 

Mrs. Fahnestock. — T rue, Dr. Miner, but nothing like that 
happened to us. We had plenty of water. It was nice and 
warm too ... 85 degrees . . . and the water in the ocean 
was 85 degrees. 

Lyon. — Y ou could have taken a nice warm bath! 

Mrs. Fahnestock. — O h, we doused ourselves with sea water, 
but we didn’t go swimming. 

Andrews. — T oo many sharks, I presume. 

Mrs. Fahnestock. — E xactly. They were cruising all around us. 
. . . The only ripples on the sea were caused by their fins 
cutting through the water. 

Miner. — B ut time must have been hanging heavily on your 
hands, Mrs. Fahnestock. 

306 



NEW HORIZONS 



Mrs. Fahnestock. — No, Dr. Miner, we didn’t have a dull 
moment. Sure, our backs were blistered . . . our lips were 
swollen . . . and our faces were parched by the sun. But 
when we weren’t thinking of the heat and talking about the 
lack of wind, we would discuss the thrills that awaited us 
at Tongareva, where my two sons were planning to dive for 
pearls. 

Andrews. — And when the wind finally did come, you headed 
straight for the pearl lagoons. 

Mrs. Fahnestock. — Yes, on a good spanking breeze. 

Lyon. — Did you go diving for pearls yourself, Mrs. Fahnestock? 

Mrs. Fahnestock. — No ... I wanted to, but somehow I 
didn’t work up enough courage to do it. I spent most of 
each day sitting on the deck of the Director . . . that’s 
the name of the schooner . . . opening oysters. I opened 
enough oysters to start a string of oyster bars from New York 
to San Francisco. 

Miner. — And opening those pearl oysters is no easy job. Miss 
Lyon. 

Lyon. — Why not, Dr. Miner ? 

Miner. — Because pearl oysters are much heavier and much 
larger than the oysters we have here at home. Some of them 
weigh 8 pounds. 

Lyon. — Goodness, you wouldn’t need many of those for oyster 
stew! But tell me, Mrs. Fahnestock, did you find any 
pearls in them ? 

Mrs. Fahnestock. — Yes ... we found a great many. . . . 
None perfect or very large, but they were all beautiful to 
me. All day long the native divers and my sons would dump 
big piles of oysters in front of me. 

Andrews. — It must have been hard work, Mrs. Fahnestock. 

Lyon. — And hard on the hands. . . . 

Mrs. Fahnestock. — It was all of that . . . but at the same 
time, it was a great thrill to slip in the knife, open the shell 



Andrews. — A nd peek for a pearl. 



307 



BEST BROADCASTS OF 1938-39 

Mrs. Fahnestock. — Y es . . . and every time I found one, I 
just ... I just . . . well, I just gloated with joy. What 
broke my heart, though, was that every night the oysters I 
hadn’t been able to open were thrown back into the sea, and 
I would lie awake nights telling myself that the pride of all 
pearls might have been among them! 

Lyon. — B ut why did you throw the oysters back into the sea 
unopened ? 

Mrs. Fahnestock. — B ecause oysters spoil very fast. Miss Lyon, 
and they have a very unpleasant odor. 

Lyon. — O h ... of course! But what about sharks? . . . Are 
there no sharks in those waters ? 

Miner. — Y es, Miss Lyon. There are plenty of sharks there. 

Mrs. Fahnestock. — A nd they made me cold with terror. But 
my sons weren’t afraid of the sharks, and the native divers 
paid hardly any attention to them. Before we began diving 
for pearls, Sheridan, one of my sons, asked a native diver, 
“What do you do about sharks?’’ And the native replied, 
“Take rag, shake rag, small shark he go. Big shark, you go 
top quick.’’ 

Lyon. — I’ d go “top quick” for even a small shark! 

Mrs. Fahnestock. — I’ m afraid I feel the same way about it. 

Andrews. — B ut Dr. Miner here has met sharks face to face on 
the bottom of the sea. 

Lyon. — R eally, Dr. Miner ? Big sharks ? 

Miner. — W ell ... on one occasion, four sharks paid me a visit 
while I was taking motion pictures tmder the water. 

Lyon. — G oodness . . . did you “ shaky rag ” or “ go top quick ” ? 

Miner. — {Laughing) No ... I just shooed them off. 

Lyon. — S hooed them off ! . . . But how do you shoo a shark ? 

Miner. — I t was fairly simple that time. This is what happened. 
I was taking motion pictures of coral formations at the 
bottom of a submarine gorge shaped hke a horseshoe. Mid- 
way at the opening of the horseshoe there stood a column 
of coral that almost reached the surface. 

308 



NEW HORIZONS 



Mrs. Fahnestock. — I think I remember that particular place, 
and it certainly presents a beautiful picture, Dr. Miner . . . 
almost like a stage setting. 

Miner. — Right, Mrs. Fahnestock. And suddenly four actors who 
were not in the cast made their entrance on that stage. 
Four large sharks came in from the left and began to edge 
toward me. 

Andrews. — And you were standing at the bottom of the horse- 
shoe. . . . Seems to me those sharks had you trapped. 

Miner. — That’s what it looked like to me. Dr. Andrews. I 
waited for them to leave, but they didn’t. 

Andrews. — And you couldn’t get out. 

Lyon. — I should think you were petrified. 

Miner. — Yes ... I began to get a little nervous. 

Mrs. Fahnestock. — But why didn’t you go up, Dr. Miner? 

Miner. — I thought of that. But then it occurred to me that if I 
started to climb up the ladder I would sway back and forth 
like bait on a line. . . . 

Andrews. — {Laughing) And you didn’t want to look like a 
piece of shark bait. . . . 

Miner. — No, indeed. Meanwhile, the sharks were edging closer, 
so I decided to do what the natives do . . . namely . . . 
shoo them off. 

Lyon. — And how did you do that ? 

Miner. — Well, Miss Lyon, I plunged toward the four sharks 
and at the same time waved my arms in a threatening 
manner . . . and lo and behold . . . the trick worked ! The 
four sharks turned about quickly and swam out of sight. 

Andrews. — I should mark that down as a very thrilling experi- 
ence, Dr. Miner. But . . . suppose you tell us just how you 
conduct your diving operations. 

Lyon. — Yes, how does it feel to go exploring on the bottom of the 
sea? 

Miner. — Well ... to start with, you get all wet. 



309 



BEST BROADCASTS OF 1938-39 



Lyon. — You mean your diving suit gets wet. 

Miner. — No, I mean my bathing suit. For in tropical waters, 
where the water is warm, you don’t need a diving suit. 

Andrews. — Just how deep do you go below the surface. Dr. 
Miner ? 

Miner. — Oh, usually from 25 to 30 feet. 

Andrews. — And the pressure of the water is not too great for 
comfort ? 

Miner. — No, you get quite used to it. 

Andrews. — But tell us something about your equipment. 

Miner. — Well, as you know, it is fairly simple. It consists of a 
brass diving helmet with an air hose and windows. This 
helmet fits over your head and rests on your shoulders. 

Lyon. — How much does the helmet weigh ? 

Miner. — Oh . . . about 65 pounds . . . just enough to help 
you stay on the bottom. 

Lyon. — But that’s a lot of weight to carry around. 

Miner. — No, on the bottom of the ocean that copper helmet 
feels as light as a straw hat. Roaming around on the bottom 
of the sea is really more like floating than walking ... a 
very pleasant sensation . . . and thrilling, too. 

Lyon. — Thrilling in what way. Dr. Miner ? Because it is danger- 
ous ? 

Miner. — Dangerous ? No, Miss Lyon, because it is beautiful. 

Andrews. — You see, Helen, unless you have seen it with your 
own eyes you can’t imagine the fragile, almost dreamlike 
beauty of a coral reef. But say. Dr. Miner, why not take us 
on a make-believe diving trip to the bottom of a pearl 
lagoon and show us what we would see ? 

Miner. — Well, first of all, the water is just as clear as crystal. 
And it melts into the distance like a pearly blue fog. Rising 
all around us are strange coral skyscrapers. Some steepled, 
some terraced, some domelike, some jagged. . . . 

Andrews. — It looks almost like the fantastic sky line of a magic 
city from a book of fairy tales. 



310 



NEW HORIZONS 



Miner. — And it is a world of many colors ranging from soft 
rose to light blue, from rich purple to pale green, and in the 
clifflike walls are deep, mysterious caverns. And in the 
depths of those caverns we see wavering light beams danc- 
ing down from cohcealed openings in shafts of weird, lumi- 
nous blue. 

Lyon. — No wonder you compare a coral reef with a fairyland! 
You almost have me looWng for Little Red Riding Hood! 

Mrs. Fahnestock. — Or Mr. Shark . . . the Big Bad Wolf! 

Miner. — {Laughing) Well, some sharks are sheep in wolves’ 
clothing. 

Mrs. Fahnestock. — Not always. Dr. Miner. I saw two native 
boys in Tongareva who had been attacked by sharks. One 
had a crippled leg, and the other had a badly maimed arm. 

Miner. — That is quite true. Many sharks are dangerous, but 
there are other dangerous inhabitants of the pearl reefs to 
be reckoned with. 

Lyon. — But what could be more dangerous than a shark. 
Dr. Miner? 

Miner. — Well, Miss Lyon, there are such things as octopuses, 
poisonous sea stars, moray eels, and mantrap clams. 

Lyon. — Mantrap clams? . . . Dr. Andrews, I think Dr. Miner 
must be joking ! 

Andrews. — No, he isn’t, Helen. The mantrap clam can be a very 
bad customer. 

Lyon. — The only bad clams I ever met were on the half shell ! 

Miner. — Quite so. Miss Lyon, but the mantrap clam is no 
ordinary clam. 

Andrews. — No, indeed, I knew the mantrap clam would be 
dragged into the conversation, so I brought a copy of 
Natural History magazine along with some pictures of the 
mantrap clam. Here . . . look. . . . Here it is. . . . 

Lyon. — You mean to say that that big thing is a clam? 

Andrews. — Exactly, Helen. 

Lyon. — My, my ! I wish I had a picture of that ! 



BEST BROADCASTS OF 1938-39 

Andrews. — You can have one. 

Lyon. — Fine. . . . Say, I think a lot of those who listen to this 
story would like to have a picture, too. 

Andrews. — A ll right, we can arrange that. It would be a nice 
souvenir. 

Lyon. — But how would they get it ? 

Andrews. — Oh, just send us their names and addresses, and 
we’ll see that they get one. And after the broadcast. I’ll 
show you a mantrap clam right here in the Museum, Helen. 
It comes from Australia, and it’s 3^^ feet long, 2 feet wide, 
and weighs over 500 potinds. 

Miner. — Of course, those at Tongareva are not quite as large, 
but even then they are dangerous enough to pearl divers. 

Mrs. Fahnestock. — Yes. As a matter of fact, the mantrap clam 
is a deadly menace, and the pearl divers are very much 
afraid of it. 

Lyon. — But I don’t imderstand. Dr. Andrews. How can a clam 
be dangerous ? 

Andrews. — Well, you see, Helen, these clams lie partly buried 
in the ocean floor, with their two shells apart. But if a 
diver should be unlucky enough to stick a hand or foot 
between their shells, they close with the speed of a trap. 
There is no way of piying those shells apart. The only road 
to safety lies in cutting off the hand or the foot of the diver 
who is held in their visehke grip. It’s either that or drowning. 

Lyon. — Why . . . how horrible! But what about octopuses? 
They are dangerous too, aren’t they. Dr. Miner ? 

Miner. — There are plenty of reports to that effect, but none of 
them ever tackled me. My most interesting encoimter 
was absolutely negative. One day I was working near a 
coral cavern when suddenly a tapering, serpenthke tentacle 
shot out . . . then another . . . and another . . all ad- 
vancing in coils that became thicker and more formidable. 
Presently the bulb-shaped body and baleful eyes of an 
octopus came into view. 

Lyon. — And what did you do ? 

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NEW HORIZONS 



Miner. — To tell the truth, I didn’t do anything. I was so spell- 
bound by interest that I couldn’t move. I just watched the 
octopus as it hung half-suspended from the edge of its cave. 
Then, without effort, it darted out into the water right past 
me and settled down in another crevice, from which it 
kept watching me with cold malice. 

Andrews. — And it didn’t bother you at all ? 

Miner. — No . . . not beyond giving me a wave or two of goose 
flesh. 

Lyon. — Well, Dr. Miner, you can keep your fairyland at the 
bottom of the sea so far as I’m concerned. ... I don’t 
blame you for not going pearl diving, Mrs. Fahnestock. 

Mrs. Fahnestock. — Well, that’s the way I looked at it. 

Lyon. — But, say. Dr. Miner, what kind of diving equipment do 
the native pearl divers use ? 

Miner. — Oh, all a native pearl diver needs is a boat, a 30-pound 
stone, 50 feet of water, and an oyster bed with pearls. 

Lyon. — But wait a minute ... a 30-pound stone . . . what’s 
the stone for ? 

Miner. — There’s a good reason for that. The weight of the stone 
helps to pull the diver toward the bottom. Not only that, 
but if you go down carefully and quickly, without waving 
your arms, the oysters keep their shells open, and in that 
way you get a peek at your pearl before you pick it. 

Andrews. — But, Helen, don’t think for a moment that pearls 
come easily. 

Mrs. Fahnestock. — I should say not. We opened shells for one 
whole week before we got a single pearl. 

Andrews. — But hold on there! Pearl diving isn’t just done for 
pearls alone. 

Lyon. — But what, then? 

Andrews. — Well, let’s see. Look at these little pearl buttons 
on my shirt sleeves. They look very unromantic . . . but 
if you could see where they started you’d be tied up in 
knots of excitement, because the shells of pearl oysters 
become pearl buttons and other things. And those shells 



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BEST BROADCASTS OF 1938-39 

have a yearly market almost as big as that of pearls. Isn’t 
that true, Dr. Miner ? 

Miner. — Right you are. And while pearl diving is a shell game, 
it is a game that is being played for very high stakes. If you 
strike it rich, you can live on the fat of the land. 

Andrews. — But if you run into trouble, you are apt to find a 
swift and painful exit. 

Lyon. — Say, Dr. Miner. . . . Did you do any fishing on your 
expedition to the South Seas ? 

Miner. — Yes, plenty. We caught fish on hooks, with nets, and 
with dynamite. 

Lyon. — Dynamite ! That’s a new one ! How did you do it ? 

Miner. — Oh, we had a gadget we called a bang-bang. It is a 
long bamboo pole with two dynamite caps attached to the 
end. We would probe around on the bottom of the sea 
with these poles, and when we saw a fish we wanted we 
would bring the pole within a foot of it, explode the dyna- 
mite, and stun the fish. 

Andrews. — {Laughing) That’s quite an idea. And speaking about 
dynamiting fish, that reminds me of an experience I had 
some years ago in the South Seas when I was a member of 
the Albatross expedition sent out by the United States 
Bureau of Fisheries to investigate the small islands of the 
East Indies. 

Miner. — Yes, I remember the Albatross very well. She was the 
most famous deep-sea exploring ship of her time. 

Andrews. — Right you are. And, among other things, we dyna- 
mited fish on coral reefs. And, by Jove, that was always 
exciting! It was there I fotmd the most absent-minded man 
in the world ... at least, so far as I know. 

Mrs. Fahnestock. — Absent-minded? How? 

Andrews. — Well, Mrs. Fahnestock, let me tell you what hap- 
pened. When we dynamited for fish, one of the members of 
the crew was in the habit of tying two or three sticks of 
d5mamite together. Then he would light the fuse and 
throw the dynamite 40 or 50 feet away into the sea. One 
day he was in a boat with two other sailors. He tied some 

314 



NEW HORIZONS 



sticks of dynamite together, lit the fuse, and what do you 
think he did ? 

Mrs. Fahnestock. — I have no idea, Dr. Andrews. 

Andrews. — Well, he blew out the match and threw it in the 
water, and then, by golly, he dropped the dynamite with the 
sizzling fuse in the bottom of the boat. 

Lyon. — My goodness, he certainly was absent-minded ! 

Andrews. — I shouted at him from my boat: “Hey . . . pick 
up that dynamite or jump!” He looked at me, and I shall 
never forget his expression. His first impulse was to jtimp 
over the side from the spitting fuse, but in another second 
he leaned over, grabbed the dynamite, and threw it as far 
as he could . . . and he was just in time. The dynamite 
exploded in mid-air, but it didn’t do any damage. 

Miner. — I should think the men in that boat must have felt 
pretty sick. 

Andrews. — Sick? They were so wobbly they could hardly row 
back to the ship and climb up the sea ladder! They were 
actually scared out of their wits. 

Lyon. — Whew! That certainly was a narrow escape. But say. 
Dr. Miner, before we get away from pearls, I would like 
to know how pearls are made. 

Andrews. — That’s a good question, Helen, and I’m glad you 
brought it up. Tell us how pearls are made. Dr. Miner. 

Miner. — Well, Miss Lyon, it all starts when a grain of sand 
or a tiny parasite slips inside an oyster’s shell. Now, oysters 
are very finicky about their shells. They want to keep 
them smooth, and when something irritating gets between 
the oyster and his shell, the oyster is very, very annoyed. 

Lyon. — Yes, I can understand that! 

Miner. — Well, the oyster can’t clean house by sweeping the 
sand out, and since it can’t get rid of the invader, it covers it 
up by secreting a pearly substance over it. This substance 
is hard and glossy, and it is covered by another layer and 
another layer, and so on, until a pearl is formed. 

Lyon. — That’s very interesting. Dr. Miner. Then pearls really 
come into existence by annoying the oysters. 



315 



1 



BEST BROADCASTS OF 1938-39 

Andrews. — It’s rather odd to realize that pearls are created that 
way. 

Mrs. Fahnestock. — All I can say is that it is a shame that more 
oysters aren’t annoyed! 

Miner. — (Laughing) Maybe so. After all, only about one oyster 
in a thousand produces a pearl. 

Lyon. — I heard a rhyme in Honolulu about pearls that went like 
this: 



“A little pearl may please a girl, 

But it sure annoys an oyster.” 

All. — (Laugh) 

Miner. — But, Dr. Andrews ... so far you have been mainly 
on the listening end of this discussion, and it seems to me 
that you ought to tell us something about your experiences 
and observations in the South Sea Islands during the cruise 
of the Albatross. 

Mrs. Fahnestock. — That’s a good idea. Dr. Miner. 

Lyon. — I should say so. Let’s hear more about it. Dr. Andrews. 

Andrews. — It certainly looks like you folks are ganging up on 
me. Well, anyway, I can truthfully state that some of my 
happiest memories and most wonderful experiences date 
back to the cruise of the Albatross. I learned many things 
on that expedition. But I think I can say that my most 
valuable acquisition was the lesson in patience I was taught 
in the jungles of Borneo. 

Lyon. — A lesson in patience ? 

Andrews. — Yes, I learned that it doesn’t pay to lose your temper. 

Lyon. — And you learned that lesson in the silence of the jimgle. 

Andrews. — Silence of the jungle ! . . . Say, my first impression 
of the jungle was one of sound rather than one of sight. 
Millions of insects and thousands of birds and monkeys 
filled the air with such a medley of noise that my eardrums 
ached. The jungle was a thick wall of giant trees stretching 
up and up almost to the clouds. The king tree dominates 
the Borneo jungle. It grows to a height of more than 200 feet. 

316 



NEW HORIZONS 



All of these trees are hung with a tangled network of vines 
and creepers, and it was impossible to move except by cutting 
a path with a machete. 

Miner. — I know, Dr. Andrews, and that’s mighty slow going. 

Andrews. — Well, one day I lost my patience. I tried to break 
through an opening because I wanted to make time. But 
in two minutes I was caught in a web of vines and thorns. 
Then I lost my temper. I tried to rush forward. That didn’t 
work. Next I tried to back out. That didn’t work either. 
The more I pulled, the deeper went the thorns into my skin 
and the tighter held the vines. 

Mrs. Fahnestock. — But how did you finally get out. Dr. 
Andrews ? 

Andrews. — Oh, when my native boy caught up with me, he cut 
me loose. My clothes were in rags, and I was streaming with 
blood from wounds inflicted by the thorns. I was as mad 
as a hornet, and I didn’t feel any better when my boy 
howled with glee. Finally he said, “Master better learn 
not get angry. Go slow . . . make time fast and use 
machete.” He was right. 

Miner. — Yes, the jungle is no place for an impatient man. 

Andrews. — I found that out. Dr. Miner. But I must admit that I 
came doggone near losing my temper a short time later 
aboard the ship. 

Lyon. — Why ? 

Andrews. — Oh, among other things, after a lot of trouble, I had 
collected a number of birds, all new to my collection. 
I took them aboard the Albatross and spent the whole 
evening . . . until long after midnight ... skinning the 
birds. It was hard, hot, and dull work. As I skinned each 
bird, I tossed it into a box that stood behind my chair. 
At last they were all done. I was half asleep and turned 
around to cover the box when . . . much to my amaze- 
ment . . . the box was empty! Not a bird in it! Even the 
last one I had skinned was gone. 

Lyon. — All the birds were gone ? 

Mrs. Fahnestock. — But what happened to them. Dr. Andrews ? 



3^7 



BEST BROADCASTS OF 1938-39 

Andrews. — I’m just coming to that. In the open doorway of my 
cabin stood Admiral Dewey, the ship’s mascot, a big, 
handsome goat . . . and that goat had eaten every one 
of my bird skins! 

Miner. — {Laughing) That’s when the goat got your goat! 

Andrews. — Oh, I was furious! For two cents I could have wrung 
that goat’s neck. But I didn’t dare touch him, because 
he was the pet of everyone aboard, and Admiral Dewey 
could do no wrong. 

Mrs. Fahnestock. — That was a disheartening experience. 
But tell me. Dr. Andrews, did you ever have any trouble 
with natives ? 

Andrews. — Only once, Mrs. Fahnestock. And that was on the 
island of Burn. It is a large, heavily wooded island which, 
up to then, had been only partially explored. Together 
with a member of the crew, I went ashore to take a look-see. 
As we made our way inland, we found three or four Malay 
villages but not a soul in them. Fires were left smoking 
and food half eaten. 

Miner. — I should say that was a very bad sign. 

Andrews. — Right you are. We couldn’t see a single native, and 
still we had the uncomfortable feeling that hostile eyes were 
watching us from the blackness of the jungle which closed 
in all arotmd us. Frankly, we expected to feel an arrow or 
a spear in our backs at any moment. We had our guns ready 
and were prepared to shoot on sight. I knew enough about 
Malay habits to be very cautious on the way back. We 
watched the trail very carefully, and it produced just what 
we had expected. 

Lyon. — What, Dr. Andrews? 

Andrews. — Oh, poison bamboo sticks with needle-sharp points 
very cleverly concealed in the undergrowth along the path. 

Miner. — Yes, that’s an old Malay custom. 

Lyon. — Is that poison very deadly ? 

Andrews. — Very deadly, Helen. One deep gash would have 
doomed us to pushing clouds for all eternity. 



NEW HORIZONS 



Mrs. Fahnestock. — But, Dr. Andrews, with the path all 
blocked with poison barbs, how did you get out ? 

Andrews. — We broke away from the path, Mrs. Fahnestock. 
Cut through the jungle to a stream some distance on our 
left and waded down the stream until we reached the safety 
of the open beach. 

Lyon. — But, Dr. Andrews, some time ago you told me about an 
experience you had with bats. 

Andrews. — Oh yes. One day, in the late afternoon, we dropped 
anchor off a tiny coral island. I went ashore, and from 
the edge of the jungle I saw half a dozen low trees which 
seemed to bear a strange, black fruit. This fruit hung 
in masses from every branch. It moved. It was alive! 

Mrs. Fahnestock. — But I don’t understand. . . . How can 
fruit be alive. Dr. Andrews ? 

Andrews. — I thought I had the heebie-jeebies until I went up 
to the nearest tree and saw that they were bats, not fruit. 
Further back in the shadow the jungle was alive with them. 
Thousands upon thousands hung from the branches, head 
down, like big black pears. Suddenly a breeze swept out 
from the depths of the jungle, and it brought a sweetish, 
musty odor that was almost overpowering. 

Lyon. — That must have been a creepy sort of an island I An island 
of bats. 

Andrews. — Yes, Helen, and I called it Devil’s Island. I had a 
shotgun with me. Just to see what would happen, I fired 
both barrels over the trees, and I certainly got action. 
Up to that moment the island had been hushed in a dead 
silence, with no living thing stirring. But no sooner had 
I fired the two shots than the picture changed. Bats . . . 
thousands of them . . . 50,000 . . . 100,000 . . . maybe 
a million, for all I know . . . came swarming out of the 
jimgle. The sky was black with them. 

Miner. — Those bats. Dr. Andrews, were they large or small ? 

Andrews. — I should call them large. Each had a wing spread of 
more than 2 feet. I had a very squeamish feeling as they 
soared all around me, not alone because there were so 
many of them but because of the utter absence of noise. 



319 



BEST BROADCASTS OF 1938-39 



It was a weird sight. There was something ghastly and 
unhealthy about it that made me shiver. 

Miner. — Isn’t it strange that bats should affect us that way ? 

Lyon. — Dr. Miner, I don’t see anything strange about that. 

Miner. — But Orientals consider bats to be omens of good 
fortune. 

Andrews. — Yes, Helen, with the Chinese a bat is a good luck 
sign. But say ... I think it is time for us to return the 
School of the Air to the Coliunbia Studios . . . and, as 
we say good-by on this, the last broadcast of New Horizons 
of the American School of the Air for this year, I want to 
tell all of you who listen in how much we have enjoyed 
being with you since this series started last fall. Good-by, 
good luck, and here’s hoping oiu: trails may cross again ! 
{Switch to studio) 

Announcer. — Thank you. Dr. Andrews . . . and thank you, 
too, for your friendly offer to give our listeners a picture 
of the mantrap clam. I’m certainly going to get one of those 
for myself ... a 500-pound clam . . . boy! Is that some- 
thing! To get this interesting picture, send your name and 
address to New Horizons, Columbia Broadcasting System, 
New York City. A postal card will do. I repeat, send your 
name and address to New Horizons, Columbia Broadcasting 
System, New York City. This brings to the close the twenty- 
fourth presentation of New Horizons of Columbia’s American 
School of the Air, with Dr. Roy Chapman Andrews as 
your host and commentator. Guests of Dr. Andrews today 
were Mrs. Mary Sheridan Fahnestock, Dr. Roy W. Miner, 
and Miss Helen Lyon. The script was written by Mr. Hans 
Christian Adamson and directed by Mr. George Allen. 
This is John Reed King speaking for New Horizons of the 
American School of the Air. This is the Coliunbia Broad- 
casting System. 



320 



BEST CHILDREN’S SHOW 
(SCRIPT AND MUSIC) 



Alice in Wonderland 

From Ireene Wicker’s Music Plays 
by Ireene Wicker 
lULIULSLSLILtULiLSUlJUlJLSUULlUJLOJ^^ 

I REENE Wicker has been a professional performer for 
nearly twenty years. She was on the stage at the age of 
twelve, and since 1930 her name has been conspicuous in 
radio. Her long series, The Singing Lady, established for 
her an authentic reputation as one of radio’s most inventive 
and resourceful artists. It won for her program the largest 
daily audience of children in the history of radio; won for 
her the prestige of a biographical account of her achieve- 
ments in Who's Who; and for her company (NBC), the 
prestige of more awards than any other network program 
ever offered to the American public. 

The end of 1938 saw the end of The Singing Lady but by 
no means the end of Ireene Wicker. Early in 1939 she was 
back on the air (after her first vacation in eight years) with 
a half-hour weekly show musically and dramatically more 
ambitious than anything she had undertaken heretofore. 

The current series of Ireene Wicker’s Music Plays is one 
of the great educational delights of our day. In structure 
these productions more or less follow the proved pattern 
created by Nila Mack in her Let’s Pretend series, but there 
is a sharp difference in the programs. Whereas in Let’s 
Pretend, all music is incidental, in the Music Plays, the 
musical contributions are essential furnishings to each half 
hour and consume a large proportion of the air time. This 
music is original and is composed by Miss Wicker in collab- 
oration with Milton Rettenberg, her pianist and musical 
director. The show is sumptuously produced — with orches- 
tra, children’s chorus, and a large cast of professionals. 



321 



BEST BROADCASTS OF 1938-39 

Miss Wicker sings all the solos and plays leading roles as 
well. Her present series is unrestricted in its choice of 
themes. It has explored the lives of many famous people 
and has been equally successful in the realm of fancy and 
fairy tale. Within the past two years Ireene Wicker’s work 
has been cited by the National Federation of Press Women, 
Radio Guide, the Women’s National Radio Committee, 
the National Parent-Teacher Association, and has won two 
national polls for outstanding work in children’s programs: 
the World-Telegram radio editors’ poll and that of the 
Hearst newspapers radio editors. 

Her program of January i, 1939, is an excellent example 
of the type of thing she is currently doing. The story of 
Alice has, of course, been done on the air many hundreds 
of times, but Miss Wicker’s treatment of these now familiar 
experiences is packed with ingenuity. She has demonstrated 
that she is a very able constructionist, and the following 
half-hour broadcast may well be studied by those interested 
in improving their own skills. 



322 



Alice in Wonderland* 



SLSULSLSLSLSUUUULSUlLJULSLSLSLSJLSLSLiLJ^^ 

Music. 

Announcer. — A lice ... a little girl of long ago ... is playing 
on a peaceful country hillside in England. Her big sister is 
reading from a large grown-up-looking book. The air is 
warm and drowsy, and Alice is sleepily peering over her 
sister’s shoulder . . . but she yawns in spite of herself . . . 
for the book has no pictmes . . . and no conversation. . . . 

Music . — Dainty . . . fun-poking at a lullaby . . . with yawns. 

Alice. — (Yawns) And what is the use of a book without pictures 
or conversation ? It should have at least one or the other . . . 
and this book has neither. . . . Oh ... I am sleepy. . . . 
Shall I make a daisy chain, or shall I take a nap? (Yawns) 

Music . — Takes funny steps, flutelike. 

Chorus. — 

Of pictures and conversation the book had none. 

And so to herself thought Alice, “Ho-ho-hum . . . 

Of pictures or conversation there should be one.” 

Or, to herself thought Alice, ‘‘It’s not much fun.” 

Alice. — (Sings) 

So I might make a chain of daisies 
Or sleep for awhile in the sun. 

Since of pictures and conversation 
The book has none. . . . 

Chorus. — A nd so to herself, thought AUce, ‘‘Ho-ho-hum.” 

Alice. — O ooh . . . my goodness me ! There goes a white rabbit. 

. . . (White rabbit starts talking here) Why ... I do beUeve 
. . . that . . . yes ... he is ... he is talking ! 

Rabbit . — (Fading in) Oh, dear, I shall be too late! Oh, dear, I 
shall be too late ! 

* Copyright, 1938, by Ireene Wicker. 



323 



BEST BROADCASTS OF 1938-39 

Alice. — {Whispers) Oh, my goodness me! . . . He’s all dressed 
up like a gentleman! And he’s carrying a watch! And a 
walking stick . . . and he is really talking ! 

Rabbit. — (O n mike) Oh dear, oh dear! I shall be too late. . . . 
I shall be too late. . . . {Fading) I shall be too late ! 

Alice . — {Close to mike) Too late for what, I wonder. I must find 
out! I know what! ... I’ll follow him. Wherever can he 
be going? Oh . . . down a rabbit hole! Well, it’s big enough 
for me. . . . I’U go down, too. Ooooh . . . I’m falling. . . . 
I’m falling . . . or . . . am I falling . . . ? {Sings, with 
chorus humming) 

I’m falling . . . not falling ... or am I ? Dear me . . . 
I’m surely not falling, for I easily see 

There are cupboards and bookshelves, maps, pictures, and 
jam. 

Oh, I’m surely not falling . . . but . . . oh, yes . . . lam! 
Music. — Kerplunk. 

Alice. — O h, my! It’s aU over, and I’m not hurt . . . not a bit! 
How dark it is here . . . just like a timnel. Ah . . . there 
goes the White Rabbit. I must hurry. 

Rabbit. — O h, dear ... I shall be too late ... I shall be too 
late indeed. Oh, my ears and whiskers, how late I shall be. 

Alice . — {Laughing softly) What a funny thing to say . . . “Oh, 
my ears and whiskers!’’ There he goes around a comer. Well, 
I shall go ’round it too. . . . Why . . . he’s gone! . . . 
And what a strange place I’m in now. It’s like a long hall, 
and there are doors on both sides. . . . 1 ’U try them. 

Sound . — Turns door knobs . . . shakes one door after another. 

Alice. — O h, dear . . . they’re aU locked. But here’s something 
new ! A three-legged table all made of glass and a tiny golden 
key on top. But of course it won’t fit those big doors. Well, 
I’ll sit down for a moment and try to think what to do. 
Oooh . . . here’s a tiny door . . . the key must be for 
this one. I’ll try it and see. . . . Oh ... it is ... it is 
{Music . . . arpeggios up the piano, etc.) . . . Oh . . . what 
a beautiful, beautiful garden! {Sings as chorus hums) 

Such a beautiful garden I never did see. 

If I could get in there how happy I’d be. 



324 



ALICE IN WONDERLAND 



I’d dance, and I’d sing, and I’d run and explore. 

I never saw any place nicer before ! 

Now if I could fold up like a telescope, I might get small 
enough to crawl through this tiny door. I wonder if there 
might be a book of rules on the glass table . . . rules for 
folding up like a telescope. No . . . but . . . here is 
something! It’s a ... a bottle . . . with a label on it, 
like a medicine bottle. It says, “Drink me.’’ Hnamrnmmm. 
. . . (Sings as chorus hums) 

Now I’ve always been told to be careful and think 
And know what’s in a bottle or else not to drink. 

’Cause if it’s marked “poison” you never must touch. 

For it makes you quite ill . . . oh, yes ... I know that 
much! 

But this is not marked “Poison.” So ... I think I’ll have 
a little sip. Mnimrnmm . . . it’s good! But . . . ah . . . 
how . . . curious it does make me feel. . . . How curious 
and surprised and strange. . . . (sings) 

Oh, I feel so surprised and so strange. . . . Oh, 
dear me. . . . 

Chorus. — (Sing) Now why in the world do you think that can 
be? 

Alice. — (Sings) I feel like a telescope folding up tight. 

Can it be that I’m shrinking ? If so, it’s all right. 

Chorus. — (Sing) Can it be that she’s shrinking? If so, it’s all 
right. 

Sound . — Descending whistle. 

Alice. — I f I am shrinking, I can take the tiny key off the table 
and open the tiny door. . . . Oh, dear! I did shrink, and 
now I can’t reach the key way up on top of the table. But 
here’s something underneath ... a little glass box . . . 
and, oh ... a little cake inside ! At any rate, I shan’t have 
to go hungry ! Mrnmnim . . . this is good, too ! 

Sound . — Ascending whistle. Music synchronizes with whistle, 
reaching height at soft thud following. 

Alice. — O h ... oh ... I feel curiouser and curiouser. . . . 
Whatever can be happening to me now . . . ? 

Sound . — Soft thud. 



325 



BEST BROADCASTS OF 1938-39 

Alice. — Ouch! Oh . . . ah . . . I’ve grown so tall I’ve hit 
the ceiling . . . the ceiling ! Why, I must be 9 feet high ! But 
here comes the White Rabbit again. Maybe he can help me. 



Rabbit . — {Fades in) Oh, the Duchess . . . the Duchess. Won’t 
she be furious if I’ve kept her waiting? Oh, my ears and 
whiskers! But I did have to get my white kid gloves and 
my shining fan! Oh, my ears and whiskers . . . and I do 
want to go to the Mad Tea Party! 

Alice. — {Whispering, close to mike) Now I wonder what a Mad 
Tea Party can be. . . . I’d like to go to it, too. But I can’t 
go any place this size. My head would keep bmnping the 
ceiling. I must be at least four times as big as myself. Maybe 
Mister White Rabbit will help me. He didn’t even see me. 
Ahem {loudly). Please, Mr. White Rabbit ... if you please, 
sir! 

Rabbit . — {Jumping up and howling with fright) Oh! Oh, my ears 
and whiskers (Jading). Oh, my ears and whiskers! 

Alice. — O h, dear . . . the White Rabbit was afraid of me. He 
ran off like a streak! He even left his white kid gloves and 
his shining fan. How cunning they are. . . . Why ... if 
the White Rabbit was afraid of me ... I ... I must have 
changed into a different person. I wonder if I can remember 
things I used to know. If I can, then I am I. ... If I cannot, 
then I am not I. Let me see. . . . Ah. . . . Fom times five 
equals twelve. . . . Ah. . . . New York is the capital of 
London . . . and I used to know a song. . . . “How doth 
the little busy bee.” . . . No. . . . “The crocodile . . . ” 
Oh, dear . . . now, let me see. . . . {Sings while chorus 
hums) 

How doth the little crocodile 
Improve his shining tail 
And pour the waters of the Nile 
On every golden scale. 

How cheerfully he seems to grin 
How neatly spreads his claws 
And welcomes little fishes in 
With gently smiling jaws. 

N-no ... I do believe those words are wrong. Oh, look. 
. . . I’ve put on the White Rabbit’s glove. {Through this 

326 



ALICE IN WONDERLAND 



speech, sound effect of whistle going slowly down . . . then 
stops and goes up a little) Then I must be getting small 
again! Oh ... I’m getting smaller and smaller, and 
pretty soon I may disappear altogether. But I haven’t 
eaten anything. Then it must be from holding the fan and 
the gloves. I must drop them! There, now . . . goodness 
me ... I got rid of them just in time! I’m small enough 
now to go into the tiny door . . . and perhaps I’ll find 
the mad tea party, too! Goodness ... I am small. . . . 
Why, I can hardly reach the top of this big mushroom. Oh 
. . . my ... a ... a caterpillar! 

Caterpillar . — {Grumbling comically . . . low, thick voice. He 
is very superior) Well . . . well . . . who are you? Who 
are you ? 

Alice. — I ... I hardly know, sir . . . just at present. 

Caterpillar. — H umph ! 

Alice. — A t least ... I know who I was when I got up this 
morning . . . but . . . I’ve changed. 

Caterpillar. — W hat do you mean, you’ve changed ? 

Alice. — W ell . . . for one thing, I don’t keep the same size for 
lo minutes together . . . and I can’t remember things as I 
used to. 

Caterpillar. — C an’t remember what things ? 

Alice. — S ongs I used to know, for one thing. They all come out 
quite different. 

Caterpillar. — H umph! Repeat “You Are Old, Father William.’’ 

Alice. — I’ ll try. . . . Ahem. . . . {Sings) 

“You are old. Father William,’’ the young man said, 
“And your hair has become very white. 

And yet you incessantly stand on your head. 

Do you think, at your age, it is right?” 

“In my youth,” Father William replied to his son, 

“I feared it might injure the brain. 

But now that I’m perfectly sure I have none 
Why, I do it again and again.” 

Caterpillar. — H umph! That is not right. 



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BEST BROADCASTS OF 1938-39 



Alice. — N ot quite right, I’m afraid. . . . Some of the words 
have got altered. 

Caterpillar. — I t is all wrong from beginning to end. (Pause) 
Humph. ... You say you keep changing size. What size 
do you want to be ? 

Alice. — W ell, I should like to be a l-itile larger, sir, if you wouldn’t 
mind. Three inches is such a wretched height to be! 

Caterpillar. — (Indignant) Humph ... it is a very good 
height, indeed. I am exactly 3 inches high. 

Alice . — (Hastily apologizing) But I’m not used to it. You see, 
though, I would like to be small enough to go through the 
garden door. . . . Then, too . . . I’d kind of like to be 
myself. ... I ... I really don’t know. . . . 

Caterpillar. — H umph. ... I must be off. Try the mushroom. 
(Going ojff, shouting) One side will make you grow taller, and 
the other side will make you grow shorter! 

Alice. — T he mushroom . . . try the mushroom. . . . Ummm. 
. . . Why . . . he’s right. I keep changing sizes with each 
bite. Well ... I think now I must be just the right height 
to go through the tiny door. ... I wonder which way I 
ought to go. . . . 

Cheshire Cat . — (Speaks in rhythm to the music) Meow. Meow. 
Meow. 

Alice. — O h . . . Oh, Mr. Cheshire Cat! 

Cat. — M eow? 

Alice. — P lease . . . could you tell me which way I ought to go 
from here ? 

Cat. — M eow. ... In that direction lives the famous Mad 
Hatter. 

Alice. — O h . . . thank you. 

Cat. — M eow. . . . And in that direction lives the Mad March 
Hare. 

Alice. — O h . . . thank you. . . . 

Cat . — (In rhythm) Visit wherever you like. . . . Meow. . . . 
Visit wherever you like ! 

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ALICE IN WONDERLA ND 



Alice. — T hank you. I shall go toward the house of the Mad 
March Hare. Maybe that is where the Mad Tea Party is. 
Oh . . . what a funny house . . . with a roof of thatched 
fur and a chimney like ears! Well . . . the tea party seems 
to have begun. That must be the Hatter wearing the big 
hat . . . and there’s a little Dormouse. . . . The one at 
the end must be the March Hare. Goodness, what a lot of 
places at the table. I . . . 

March Hare, Hatter, and Dormouse. — {Together) No room. 
No room. No room. 

Alice. — There’s plenty of room. I shall sit right here at the head 
of the table in this big armchair. 

March Hare. — Have some milk. 

Alice. — I don’t see any . . . not anything but tea. 

March Hare. — There isn’t any. 

Alice. — Then it wasn’t very polite of you to offer it. 

March Hare. — It wasn’t very polite of you to sit down without 
being invited. 

Alice. — I didn’t know it was your table. It’s laid for a great 
many more than three. 

Hatter. — I’m the Hatter. Your hair needs cutting, little girl. 

Alice. — Now, Mr. Hatter . . . you shouldn’t make personal 
remarks. It’s very rude. 

Hatter. — I see. . . . Tell me, why is a raven like a writing desk? 

Alice. — Oh, good! Riddles! We shall have fun now. ... I like 
riddles. I believe I can guess that one. 

March Hare. — Do you mean you think you can find the answer 
to it? 

Alice. — Exactly so, March Hare. 

March Hare. — Then you should say what you mean. 

Alice. — I do. ... At least, I mean what I say. That’s the same 
thing, you know. 

Mad Hatter. — Not the same thing a bit. You might just as well 
say that “ I see what I eat ” is the same thing as “ I eat what 
I see.” 



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BEST BROADCASTS OF 1938-39 

March Hare. — Q uite right, Hatter . . . and you might just 
as well say that “I like what I get” is the same thing as 
“I get what I like.” 

Dormouse. — S queak, squeak, yes . . . and you might just 
as well say that “I breathe when I sleep” is the same tWng 
as “I sleep when I breathe.” 

Hatter. — I t is the same thing with you. Dormouse. 

Alice. — A hem . , . eh . . . couldn’t we have a . . . song, 
Mr. Hatter? 

Hatter. — O f course we could. ... I shall sing the song I sang 
at the great concert given by the Queen of Hearts. Ahem! 
{Sings slightly o£f key, in comical voice) 

Twinkle twinkle, little bat. 

How I wonder what you’re at. 

Up above the world you fly, 

Like a tea tray in the sky. 

Twinkle twinkle, little bat. 

How I wonder what you’re at. 

You know the song, perhaps? 

Alice. — I ... I know one something like it . . . {Sings as 
nicely as possible) 

Twinkle, twinkle, little star 
How I wonder what you are. 

Dormouse. — Twinkle, twinkle, twinkle. 

Twinkle, twinkle, twinkle, twinkle. 

Hare and Hatter. — W ake up. Dormouse. . . . Wake up! 

Dormouse. — S queak, squeak. ... I wasn’t asleep. ... I heard 
every word you fellows were sa5dng. 

March Hare. — T ell us a story. 

Alice. — O h, yes. Dormouse . . . please do. 

Hatter. — A nd be quick about it, too, or you’ll be asleep again 
before it’s done. 

Dormouse. — S queak, squeak. . . . Once upon a time there were 
three little sisters, and their names were Elsie, Lacey, and 
Tillie; and they lived at the bottom of a well. 

Alice. — W hat did they live on ? 

330 



ALICE IN WONDERLAND 



Dormouse. — T hey lived on treacle. 

Alice. — T hey couldn’t have done that, Dormouse. Treacle is 
rich, sweet syrup. They’d have been ill. 

Dormouse. — S o they were . . . very ill. 

Alice. — B ut why did they live at the bottom of a well? 

Dormouse. — I t was a treacle well. 

Alice. — O h. . . . 

Dormouse. — A nd so these three little sisters were learning to 
draw. . . . 

Alice. — W hat did they draw ? 

Dormouse. — T reacle. 

Alice. — B ut I don’t understand. Where did they draw the 
treacle from ? 

Hatter. — Y ou can draw water out of a water well ... so I 
should think you could draw treacle out of a treacle well . . . 
eh, stupid? 

Alice. — B ut they were in the well, Mr. Hatter. Weren’t they. 
Dormouse ? 

Dormouse. — O f course they were . . . well in. Ho-hum. (Snores) 

Alice. — O h, dear . . . he’s fallen asleep. This is the stupidest 
tea party I ever saw in all my life. . . . Why, this is curi- 
ous. . . . Here’s a door, leading right into this tree. I 
think I may as well go in at once. . . . Why, here I am 
in the long hall again. . . . Ah . . . oh. . . . And here’s 
the door leading into the beautiful garden. 

Queen . — (Coming up) Off with their heads! Off with their heads! 

Alice. — O oh . . . there’s ... a Queen ... a Red Queen. . . . 

Red Queen . — (Shouting in ridiculous caricature kind of voice) 
Alice! Oh, Alice! I’ve been looking for you! Come along! 
Hurry ! Come now. ... I want you to go with the Gryphon 
to visit the Mock Turtle. Here’s the crazy thing now. Here, 
Gryphon. 

Alice. — W hat . . . what is he? 



33 ^ 



BEST BROADCASTS OF 1938-39 

Red Queen. — C an’t you see ? He’s an animal . . . part lion . . . 
part eagle . . . and aU Gryphon. Here he is asleep in the 
sun as usual. He must take you to visit the Mock Turtle. 

Alice. — A nd what . . . what is the Mock Turtle ? 

Red Queen. — A Mock Turtle is a make-believe Turtle ... of 
course. Here’s the Gryphon now. Gryphon! Gryphon! 
Wake up. . . . Take this young lady to see the Mock 
Turtle and hear his history. ... I must go back and see 
after some executionings I have to make. {Fading Off with 
their heads ! Off with their heads. . . . 

Gryphon. — W hat fun! Oh, I say . . . what fim! 

Alice. — W hat is fun? 

Gryphon. — W hy . . . she . . . the Red Queen . . . always 
talking about executions all the time. It’s all make believe. 
They never execute anybody. Come on. 

Alice. — E verybody in this place says, “Come on.’’ I never was 
so ordered about before in all my life . . . never! 

Mock Turtle . — {Starts Jading in) Boo hoo! Hoo! 

Alice. — W hat’s that? 

Gryphon. — T he Mock Turtle, of course. 

Mock Turtle. — B oo . . . hoo . . . hoo! Boo! Hoo! 

Alice. — O h, dear. . . . What is his terrible sorrow, Gryphon? 

Gryphon. — I t’s all make believe. He hasn’t any sorrow. Come 
on! 

Alice. — O h, my! 

Turtle. — B oo! Hoo! Oh . . . oh, oh. . . . 

Gryphon. — T his young lady, she wants to know your history, 
she does. 

Turtle. — I’ ll tell it to her. Sit down . . . both of you . . . 
and don’t speak a word till I’ve finished. {Pause) 

Alice. — G oodness ... I don’t see how he can ever finish . . . 
if he doesn’t begin. 

Gryphon. — S hhhh. . . . He’s beginning. 

332 



ALICE IN WONDERLAND 



Turtle. — O nce upon a time I was a Real Turtle. When I was 
little, I went to school with the other little turtles ... to 
school in the sea. The schoolmaster was an old Turtle, 
but we used to call him Tortoise. 

Alice. — B ut why? Why did you call him Tortoise if he wasn’t 
one? 

Mock Turtle. — W e called him Tortoise because he taught us. 
Really, you ought to be ashamed of yourself for asking 
such a simple question. Well, as I said, we went to school, 
and we learned reeling and writhing . . . also mystery and 
drawling. Also laughing and grief. 

Alice. — H ow strange. I go to school, too, but I learn reading 
and writing . . . also history and drawing . . . but I’m 
too young to learn Latin and Greek. 

Turtle. — T his is not your story. . . . It’s mine . . . and we 
learned just what I said we did. We had games, too. The 
most popular was the Lobster Quadmle ... a dance. 

Alice. — ^L obster Quadrule! Oh, my! What kind of dance is that? 

Turtle. — I shall tell you. First . . . form a line along the 
seashore. Of course, each dancer must have a lobster for a 
partner. Take two steps forward. Change lobsters and go 
two steps back. Then throw the lobster out to sea ! 

Alice. — A h ... I see. ... It must be a very pretty dance. 

Turtle. — I t is. We’ll show it to you now, and I’ll sing, if our sea 
friends will join in. Ready . . . together . . . go. . . . 

Music. — Song. 

“Will you walk a little faster?” said a whiting to a snail. 
“There’s a porpoise close behind us, and he’s treading on 
my tail. 

See how eagerly the lobsters and the turtles all advance. 
They are waiting on the shingle (shingle means shore). 

Will you come and join the dance ? 

Will you, won’t you, will you, won’t you, will you, won’t you 
join the dance ? 

Alice. — O h, thank you. . . . That is a very interesting dance 
to watch. And I like the song about the whiting. But if 
I’d been the whiting, I’d have said to the porpoise, “Keep 
back, please! We don’t want you with us!’ 



333 



BEST BROADCASTS OF 1938-39 

Turtle . — (Hollow laugh) Ha . . . ha. . . . No wise fish wotild 
ever go anywhere without a porpoise. Why, if a fish came 
to me and told me he was going on a journey, I should say, 
“With what porpoise?” 

Alice. — A h . . . don’t you mean . . . purpose ? 

Turtle. — I mean what I say! Now . . . it’s your turn to enter- 
tain. Stand up and repeat, “ ’Tis the Voice of the Sluggard.” 

Alice. — I’ ll try . . . but I get so mixed up in this strange coim- 
try. Well ... at any rate. I’ll try. Ahem. (Sings) 

’Tis the voice of the Lobster; I heard him declare, 

“You have baked me too brown, I must sugar my hair.” 
As the duck with his eyelids, so he with his nose 
Trims his belt with his buttons and turns out his toes. 

Turtle. — (Interrupts) Wait! What is the use of repeating all 
that stuff if you don’t explain it as you go along? It’s the 
most confusing thing I ever heard. . . . Isn’t it. Gryphon? 

Gryphon. — Y es ... I think you’d better leave off. 

Alice. — I ... I’m only too glad to. And now, I should like to 
find the White Rabbit and see the beautiful garden again 
. . . and then I’m going home ... so good-by. . . . 

Gryphon. — W ait! Come back! You can’t leave the Mock 
Turtle until you hear his song. It’s a law. Sing her “Turtle 
Soup,” will you, old fellow? 

Turtle. — “T urtle Soup”! Ah, yes ... to be sure ... to be 
sure! (Groans and mournfully agrees and sings) 

Beautiful soup, so rich and green. 

Waiting in the hot tureen! 

Who for such dainties would not stoop. . . . 

Soup of the evening, beautiful soup! 

Soup of the evening, beautiful soup! 

Beau-oo-tiful soo-oop ! 

Beau-oo-tiful soo — oop ! 

Soo oop of the evening. 

Beautiful, beautiful soup! 

Alice. — A h . . . that is beautiful . . . really! Why! I’m glad 
I came. Mock Turtle. It’s the nicest thing I’ve seen in 
Wonderland. ... I mean, heard . . . eh . . . found . . . 



334 



ALICE IN WONDERLAND 



except the White Rabbit and the beautiful garden. Oh . . . 
where is the garden . . . ? 

Gryphon. — {Running) Come on ! Come on, Alice ! 

Alice. — {Running) I’m coming. . . . I’m coming. . . . Oh, 
there is the garden! We’ve found it . . . again. 

Gryphon. — C ome on. . . , Come on. . . . 

Voices. — C ome on. . . . Come along. , . . 

Chorus. — T he trial’s beginning, the trial’s beginning. 

I wonder who’s winning, I wonder who’s winning. 

At any rate let’s all be going. 

And pretty soon we’ll all be knowing. 

Gryphon. — C ome on, Alice . . . come on . . . the trial’s 
beginning. Let’s be going. . . . Come on! Come on! The 
trial’s beginning. 

Alice. — S o I hear . . . but what trial is it? And where? 

Gryphon. — {Running) Come on, come on. 

Alice. — I’ m coming. . . . Ah ... is this it! Why, there’s 
the White Rabbit . . . the Hatter . . . the Dormouse . . . 
and . . . and a pack of cards, come to hfe, sort of. 

Gryphon. — Y es . . . and there are the King and Queen of 
Hearts, sitting on a great throne in the center of them all. 

Alice. — O h, look. . . . The White Rabbit has a scroll of paper 
in one hand and a trumpet in the other. He’s only pretending 
to blow the trumpet, though. . . . He’s really kind of 
singing with all the other Heralds. Listen. . . . 

Rabbit. — Ta-ta-ta-ta-ta-ta-ta-taaaa 

Ta-ta-ta-ta-ta-ta. . . . 

Alice. — O h, yummy, look at the tray of tarts beside the Queen. 
I wish they’d get the trial done and hand around the refresh- 
ments. 

Queen. — S ilence ! Silence ! 

Alice. — W hy did the jurors write on their slates. Gryphon? 
They can’t have anjrthing to put down yet, before the 
trial’s begun. 



33S 



BEST BROADCASTS OF 1938-39 

Gryphon. — They’re putting down their names for fear they 
shovdd forget them before the end of the trial. 

Alice. — Stupid things. 

King. — Silence! White Rabbit, call for silence. 

Rabbit. — {Sings) Silence in the court, silence in the court. 

We want silence — silence of a sort. 

And we think we ort — yes, we know we ort, 
Reall-ly have silence in the court. 

King. — Herald! Herald! Read the accusation! Herald! Herald! 
Read the accusation! {In rhythm) 

Rabbit. — Your Majesty, I am the Herald, so I shall read the 
accusation with all the other Heralds of the Court. Heralds 
... let us read ... I mean sing. . . . 

Chorus. — The Queen of Hearts, she made some tarts 

All on a summer’s day. 

The Knave of Hearts, he stole those tarts 
And took them quite away. 

King. — Ahem. Call the first witness ... all Heralds of the 
Court. 

Chorus. — Ta-ta-ta-ta-ta-taaaa 

T a-ta-ta-ta-ta-ta. 

First witness, come up to the stand 
And raise your good right hand. 

Alice. — {Whispering) There goes the Mad Hatter. He must be 
the first witness. Look ... he has a teacup in one hand and 
bread and butter in the other. He does look frightened. 

King. — Well, Mad Hatter. 

Gryphon. — Shhh . . . the King speaks. 

King. — Take off your hat. Give your evidence. And don’t be 
nervous. 

Alice. — {Whispering) He’s more nervous than ever. Oh, look. 
. . . He’s tr}dng to drink his bread and butter and eat his 
tea. Goodness ... I do believe I’m growing again! 

Dormouse. — Squeak, squeak. ... I know you are. . . . {Sings) 

I wish you wouldn’t squeeze so. 

Why, I can hardly breathe ! 



336 



ALICE IN WONDERLAND 



Don’t push me, Alice. Please, oh. 

I’m crushed, I do believe. 

Alice. — I can’t help it. Dormouse. I’m growing. 

Dormouse. — S queak, squeak. . . . You’ve no right to grow 
here. 

Alice. — D on’t talk nonsense. You know you’re growing, too. 

Dormouse. — S queak, yes . . . but I grow at a reasonable pace 
. . . not in that ridiculous fashion. 

King. — S ilence ! 

Gryphon. — S hhhh . . . the King will hear you. . . . 

King. — (Sings) Silence, silence, silence in the court, 

We want silence . . . silence of a sort. 

Now, Mad Hatter . . . give your evidence. . . . What do 
you have to say ? 

Mad Hatter. — I’ m a poor man. Your Majesty. . . . I’m a very 
poor man. 

King. — Y ou’re a very poor speaker, and if that’s all you know 
about the case, stand down. 

Mad Hatter. — I can’t go down no lower, Your Majesty. . . . 
I’m on the floor as it is. 

King. — T hen you may sit down. No, you may go. Call the next 
witness. 

Rabbit. — N ext witness . . . next witness. Alice . . . Alice! 

Alice. — H ere I am. . . . Oh! 

Sound. — Clatter. 

All. — A h . . . why, the very idea. 

Alice. — I beg your pardon. I’ve knocked over all the jur5rmen! I 
didn’t mean to. Truly I didn’t. Your Majesty. . . . 

King. — T he trial cannot proceed until all the jurymen are back 
in their places. Well, Alice . . . what do you know about 
this business? 



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BEST BROADCASTS OF 1938-39 



Music. — Song. 

“Nothing,” said Alice. “Nothing.” 

“Nothing whatever?” asked the King. 

“ Nothing whatever,” said Alice. 

“That,” said the King, “Is very important. 

Very important, says I.” 

Rabbit. — Important. Oh, my ears and whiskers. ... To me it 
seems most unimportant. . . . 

King. — Silence! And witness by the name of Alice . . . listen 
to Rule 42. All persons more than a mile high to leave the 
court. 

Alice. — Why . . . I’m not a mile high. 

King. — You are so. Nearly two miles. 

Alice. — Well, I shan’t go at any rate. Besides, that isn’t a regu- 
lar rule. You invented it just now. 

King. — It’s the oldest rule in the book. 

Alice. — If it is, then it ought to be Rule Number i instead of 
Nrnnber 42. 

King. — Consider your verdict, jiu*y. . . . Consider your verdict. 
Sentence first . . . verdict afterwards. 

Alice. — Stuff and nonsense . . . the idea of having the sentence 
first. 

Queen. — Hold your tongue. 

Alice. — I won’t. I’ve done nothing wrong. 

Queen. — Yes ... off with her head ... off with her head! 

Alice. — I’m not afraid. Who cares for you! You’re nothing but 
a pack of cards ! 

Sound. — Whistle and wind effect up and fade to silence. 

Alice. — Oh. Oh, my. Oh, me, oh, my. Why . . . why, I’m back 
again, sister. . . . 

Sister. — Wake up, Alice dear. It’s supper time. You’ve been 
dreaming. 

338 



ALICE IN WONDERLAND 



Alice. — Dreaming. Oh, no ... I’m sure it couldn’t have been 
all a dream. It was so very real . . . adventures I had . . . 
in a kind of Wonderland. 

Chorus. — And so with a brightness that shines and gleams 
When mem’ries are sweet and happy are dreams, 
AHce kept with her always the adventures so grand. 
The adventures she had in that strange Wonderland. 

Announcer. — And so the curtain falls on our music play for 
today, “Alice In Wonderland,” as dramatized for radio by 
Ireene Wicker. You have heard Ireene Wicker herself in 
the part of Alice; James Meighan as the White Rabbit; 
Alfred Shirley and Eustace Wyatt as the March Hare and 
the Mock Turtle; Agnes Moorehead in the part of the 
Queen of Hearts; Florence Malone as the Red Queen; and 
John Brewster as the King. Junius Matthews was heard as 
the Caterpillar. Milton Rettenberg, our music director, 
arranged the music and the Children’s Chorus sang the 
songs. And now, Ireene Wicker . . . will you tell us about 
the music play for next week ? 

Ireene. — Yes, Mr. Cross. Next Sunday we are going to present 
“The Boy, Verdi,” a music play based on the childhood of 
the great composer, Giuseppe Verdi, and featuring some of 
Verdi’s best loved music. 

Announcer. — That will be beautiful, I know. We hope you will 
all be with us again next Sunday at this same time. This is 
the National Broadcasting Company. 



339 



BEST ORIGINAL SKETCH 



The Twilight Shore 

by Milton Geiger 

M ore than thirty important weekly radio series include 
as a feature of each show a dramatic sketch of short 
duration, usually a spot of from eight to twelve minutes. 
Such shows are of the variety type, and the included 
sketches draw on every conceivable theme; humorous or 
near-humorous domestic mix-ups, murder, revenge, war, 
character study, impressionistic montages, historical and 
biographical playlets, and old-fashioned vaudeville black- 
outs. Frequently they are written for specific stage or 
screen stars, and in these cases are written “close,” that is 
to say, fashioned in both line and structure to afford the 
star the best possible piece in which to demonstrate his 
particular brand of virtuosity. More often, however, they 
are the spontaneous creations of radio’s myriad free lances 
and are written, as most things are, because the author 
felt like it. These are more likely to have freedom of 
individual thought and expression and, in consequence, 
greater integrity of authorship. 

From a mass of over five hundred I have selected the 
sketch called “The Twilight Shore,” by Milton Geiger. 
It has positive and uncommon distinctions, not least of 
which is its adroit handling of a dramatic problem usually 
botched by radio writers: the problem of bringing reality 
and movement to a property that is in every sense an 
allegory. 

The lumbering, unlubricated progress of the allegory ; the 
generally stilted and impersonal treatment of its char- 
acters ; the moralizing mustiness of its metaphor — these are 
features not likely to attract the dramatist. But Mr. 
Geiger has escaped these dangers neatly and has done so in 
ways that deserve brief mention. First, he has written cold 
realism into his opening narration. This has great psycho- 



340 



THE TWILIGHT SHORE 



logical value in that the listener instinctively knows that 
the resolution of the play will return him to the same 
situation; in other words, that the play will end, as it 
began, on a realistic note. Geiger’s second device has been 
to include in his cast of allegorical figures a character 
(the Woman) who is an ordinary person. Her presence, her 
speech, and her response to her situation are all natural 
and reasonable, which eases the burden of our belief in the 
other two characters. His third device is his use of con- 
temporary reference on the part of one of his shadow char- 
acters (the Idiot) and the very effective use of the sound 
effects naturally associated with those references. The Idiot 
speaks of poison gas, airplanes, bombs, etc., and in so doing 
injects these moments of the play with the starkest sort of 
realism, realism that is intensified by sound. 

In performance this short sketch was powerful and con- 
vincing. It is to the credit of Rudy Vallee’s showmanship 
that he accepted the play as it stood and then undertook 
the problem of its proper casting. Fay Bainter and Judith 
Anderson appeared in the major roles and delivered 
memorable pieces of work. The performance took place on 
the evening of March 17, 1938. The Texaco Star Theatre 
also gave this sketch an excellent production (December 14, 
1938), with Olivia De Haviland and Nana Bryant in the 
leading roles. 

The Rudy Vallee program was the first to make commer- 
cial use of Mr. Geiger’s talents, and during the past three 
years twenty-three original sketches by him have been 
heard on this program alone. He was not discovered by the 
discerning Vallee, however, his first play having been 
produced by the Columbia Workshop in 1935. 

As a radio writer Milton Geiger has greater versatility 
than any other professional in the industry today, moving 
with equal facility from the crepuscular to the grisly, from 
character study to gags. Despite his variety of theme and 
treatment, there is in most of his work a fine undercurrent 
of optimism, humor, and companionship. “The Twilight 
Shore,” somber in mood during most of its action, returns 
the listener to a healthy and encouraging cheerfulness with 
its quick conclusion. 



341 



The Twilight Shore* 



Announcer. — For crucial minutes a taxi has been threading its 
way through city traffic. In the back seat, a tense, anxious- 
eyed young man comforts a woman beside him. The woman’s 
face is drawn but pale and lovely in the half light. At last 
broken points of light appear on a distant hill . . . the 
maternity hospital! The taxi’s engine drones louder as the 
driver puts on greater speed. . . . Then, curiously, the roar 
of the motor changes to the roar of an ocean surf; our scene 
changes. The woman of the taxi is standing on the dim 
shore of a great pounding sea. Her dark hair is loose, falling 
to her waist. She wears a flowing white gown. Her face, 
beautiful and transfixed, is tiimed to the fog-shrouded 
sea. But for the dull glow of the setting sun, the sea and sky 
are void and lonely. Far, far out in the mist, a beU buoy 
toUs in sad and muffled accents. Suddenly the woman on 
the beach is not alone. Another woman, tall and stately in 
the gathering gloom, stands beside her . . . speaks. . . . 

Erda. — (The Other Woman) Welcome. I bid you welcome. 
Woman. 

Woman. — I ... I am lost! I do not know this place, or you. 

Erda. — My name is Erda. 

W OMAN. — Erda ? 

Erda. — I am called by many names in many tongues, since all 
men worship the fertile earth as it turns toward the stm. 

Woman. — I am afraid! I do not know this misty sea. I hear the 
beating surf and a bell at sea, and it is strange, all strange! 

Erda. — These sands are strange indeed to you. Yet coimtless 
other footprints have long ago washed out to sea, with 
millions yet to come . . . and every woman bom of woman 
walks these lonely shores . . . alone. 

* Copyright, 1938, by Milton E. M. Geiger. 

S42 



THE TWILIGHT SHORE 



Woman. — B ut you . . . ? 

Erda. — Y ou are alone. Will you take my hand and come with 
me, Woman? 

Woman. — {Dazed) I am alone and lost. I must come. 

Erda. — T hen take my hand and come. . . . Come with me. 
. . . Come. . . . 

Sound . — Fade her voice, music, and the tolling of the bell. Fade in 
slowly the howl and whistling of a shrill, high wind. 

Woman. — {Gasping) This wind! ... I ... I cannot stand! 

Erda. — I will support you. Look where I point. 

Woman. — I ... I see a boy ... a little boy . . . and a girl. 
. . . The boy is hurt ! His knee is scraped and bleeding . . . 
but he does not weep. 

Erda. — T hough it hturts him cruelly, he does not cry out. 

Woman. — T he little girl bends over him. . . . 

Erda. — Y es. Tears glisten in her eyes. 

Woman. — {Pleading) Let me go! I must go to him! 

Erda. — W hy ? 

Woman. — {Perplexed) Why . . . because . . . because ... I 
must! Because . . . the boy is mine! 

Erda. — H e will be yours, if you choose. Come. The little trage- 
dies of childhood are soon over. Leave them to their precious 
anguish ! 

Woman. — ^L eave them? 



Erda. — Come. . . . Come with me. . . . Come. . . . 

"Si 

Sound. — Her voice fades momentarily. . . . The wind rises to an 
even fiercer pitch, supported this time by music. 

Woman. — I can go no further! This is mad! The wind and the 
sea and all this land . . . mad ! Why am I here ? 

Erda. — {Gently) Rest, Woman. You will need strength and 
courage and compassion. Look . . . look again where I 
point. . . . 



343 



BEST BROADCASTS OF 1938-39 

Woman . — {A pause . . . then dreamily) I see a young man and 
a young woman. . . . They are building. What are they 
building ? 

Erda. — I t only matters that they do build. Watch! 

Woman. — S ee how they struggle against the roaring gale . . . ! 

Erda. — T he wind is great, but they are greater. 

Woman. — N o! The framework bends. ... It yields. ... It 
cracks ! 

Sound . — A crackling sound as of timbers crunching and splintering. 

Woman. — I t’s going to fall! 

Sound . — Terrific grinding crash . . . music out . . . wind down 
low. 

Woman. — G one! All their labor spent for dust and ruin! 

Erda. — A s it was, and is, and shall be. And yet I tell you . . . 
they are greater than the wind ! 

Woman. — (Compassionately) See how the woman tries to comfort 
him, tears in her gentle eyes. (Suddenly) Why . . . it’s 
the same little girl, grown older . . . ! 

Erda. — T he same little boy, grown up . . . with eyes Uke the 
eyes you know so well and love so well. . . . 

Woman. — B ut this is cruel. . . . This is heartless ! 

Erda . — This is life, Woman. Look. . . . See how he grasps his 
hammer again and squares his shoulders. Come. . . . Let 
us leave them to their building and their splendor. . . . 
Come. . . . Come with me. . . . Come. . . . 

Sound . — Fade the wind and Erda’s voice. Then fade in loud, 
boisterous laughter that sounds brutal and a bit imbecilic. 

Woman. — (Frightened) Who is this? 

(This amuses the man. He laughs the louder) 

Erda. — C ourage, Woman! (Raising her voice imperiously) 
Stay your laughter! What amuses you, now that the black 
rocks split with your mirth ? 

Man. — A h, you must see, and the Woman, too. Look. ... I 
turn this little valve on this pretty metal cylinder, and 
behold . . . ! 



344 



THE TWILIGHT SHORE 



Erda. — (Whispering) Covirage, Woman. . . . 

Sound . — There is a hissing sound from the cylinder. 

Man . — (In idiot triumph) See! Lovely purple gas . . . purple 
gas to kill the little people. He chuckles in high satisfaction. 

Woman. — (Choking) It ... it chokes me ... 1 Let us go from 
here ... 1 I ... I fear . . . this . . . creature ... 1 

Sound . — Hissing stops suddenly. 

Man. — W ait. There is more. Look! Airplane! Zum! Zum! Zum! 
Zum! Zum! Zum! Zum! Zum! Zum! 

Sound. — A s he imitates, vocally, like a child, the drone of a heavy 
bombing plane, his voice is gradually seconded by deep, 
booming drone of a bomber. 

Woman . — (In terror) Stop. . . . Stop. . . . Stop . . . ! 

Man. — S ee! The bomber has a great cathedral under his sights, 
and presto . . . ! 

Sound . — He whistles long and piercingly to imitate the hoarse 
whistle of a descending bomb. At the same time, his whistle 
is seconded again by the hoarse, tapering whistle of a bomb’s 
descent. As the man exclaims ’‘Boom,” a mechanical effect 
creates a deep, resonant boom. 

Woman. — T ake me away . . . ! I hate him! I hate him! 

Man. — (Suddenly, sharply) No! Stay, Woman! Stand before 
my altar ! 

Woman. — (Moaning) No, no, no, no, no, no, no . . . ! I dare 
not . . . ! 

Man. — W oman, you will have a child. I must have his name for 
my record. 

Woman . — (In suddenly crystallizing determination) I will not say! 

Man. — H is name! The name of your man child! Quickly! 

Woman.— T here will be . . . no . . . son! 

Man. — W hat! (Calming down) Well, no matter. Your daughter 
will have sons, then. Give me her name ! 

Woman. — (Firmly) There will be no daughter. 

345 



BEST BROADCASTS OF 1938-39 



Man. — W hat ? Erda . . . must we tolerate such insolence from 
this . . . this . . . mortal! No! 

Erda. — I f she wills it, there will be no child. Come, Woman. 
We will go. . . . 

Man . — {Shouting after them in fury) Wait! Come back! Stop, I 
say! Do you know who I am? I am powerful! I am WAR! 
Come back! Come back. . , . Come back . . . ! 

Sound . — Fade his frenzied voice. The woman sobs brokenly. 

Woman. — I t was terrible . . . terrible. . . . 

Erda. — (Sadly) Forgive him. He is an idiot. 

Sound . — There is a pause. The woman's sobs cease gradually. 
Fade in slowly then, as before, the roar of the sea, the tolling 
of the bell buoy, with music. 

Woman. — (Questioningly) This is the sea again! It is here we 
started ! 

Erda. — A ye, Woman. The sea. 

Woman. — I t is dark, and yet I see that there are cotmtless 
sails upon the water. . . . Why are they so still and silent ? 
The wind is fresh and blows upon us from the sea. Why 
are they still ? 

Erda. — (Oddly) Forever silent and becalmed upon a wind-swept 
sea, those ships. The wind is fresh indeed, and yet those 
sails are limp and lifeless in the gale. So are they now . . . 
so shall they be while time exists. 

Woman. — (Frightened) I do not xmderstan^. 

Erda. — Y ou must not be afraid, Woman . . . now. 

Woman. — T he wind is cold and piercing. 

Erda. — A ye, cold and black, but do not fear. . . . 

Woman. — I am afraid! I fear that bell and all those silent ships! 
This place is cruel . . . and strange. Where is my home 

. . . ? 

Erda. — S oon you will go back . . . though some do not. 
Woman. — S ome . . . do . . . not . . . ? 

346 



THE TWILIGHT SHORE 



Erda. — T hey are brave; they dip into the dark and surging 
tides of death to bring forth life. But those who lose their 
footing on the glazed wet rocks . . . they do not return. 
The Little Ones go back . . . alone. 

Woman. — T he . . . the Little Ones . . . ? (Suddenly) Wait! 
I remember. . . . (Build music) I . . . (struggling for 
memory) remember ... in another place than this ... a 
taxi . . . pain ... a taxi . . . racing dimly through the 
streets. A taxi . . . pain . . . my husband ... a taxi, 
racing . . . racing . . . racing ... 1 (Music out) Racing 
(Suddenly dazed . . . bewildered). . . . Racing . . . where 
. . . ? 

Erda. — T o meet a ship, Woman. Look . . . look out to sea. 

Woman. — W hy ... I see one ship that moves. I see a vessel 
with all sails spread. The water boils and hisses at her prow- 
What . . . what ship is that ? 

Erda. — T he ship you came to meet. See. ... A shrouded 
figure poises in the bows. . . . 

Woman. — S he holds something in her arms, as if for me to take! 

Erda. — Y es. She holds a little child, yet unborn. Your child. 

Woman. — M ine? Mine . . . ? 

Erda. — Y our child. 

Woman . — (In sudden determination) I ... I will not have him! 

Erda. — (Resignedly) It is for you to choose, Woman. 

Woman. — T hen I have chosen. I . . . will . . . not . . . have 
. . . him! 

Erda . — (Persuasive and gentle) A helpless little child. A son, 
blue-eyed and gentle; caressing, to be caressed. . . . 

Woman. — N o! 

Erda. — ^L ife would be sweet to him as to all things living. 

Woman. — N o. Life is bitter and tragic! It is cruel, pitiless! You 
have shown me! 

Erda. — I t was my duty. Life is divine ... a gift. . . . 

347 



BEST BROADCASTS OF 1938-39 

Woman. — L ife is meaningless! A grim and savage trick! I’ll 
have no part of it ! I understand everything now ! I saw tor- 
ment and pain for him; I saw disaster and futility; I saw 
the Idiot reaching for my son . . . and I will not have him! 

Erda. — (Sighs) It is a pity. Others have had greater courage. 
The countless others whose footprints long ago went out to 
sea. 

Woman. — (Steadfastly) No. . . . No! 

Erda. — (Angrily) Be selfish, then, and, for yourself, think of the 
empty years! Think of the lonely years, when childless 
twilight comes for you, with none to light the darkemng 
way . . . none to mourn your passing or to rejoice your 
having been ! 

Woman. — (Struck) No ... no ... no .. . ! 

Sound . — Music in. 

Erda. — T he ship draws near. Soon you may hold your child 
in yotur arms; and soon he may smile and laugh and cml 
his fingers round your own. . . . 

Woman. — (Whispering) No. . . . No. . . . 

Erda. — T he ship is beached. (Pause) Woman, your little son. 
Choose ... or the boat returns to join that sorry fleet 
out on the murky waters . . . the fleet of tmwanted souls 
. . . small soiils drifting down eternity. . . . Look! The 
sea begins to moan; the sea is rising, and the wind grows 
bleak and rough. The sun is gone, and the scudding clouds 
close in like Final Judgment. . . . (The wind begins to 
whistle mournfully) Choose, Woman, e’er the restless ocean 
and the night take back yotir boy. For the last time. Woman 
. . . will you take yom son . . . ? (Fading) Will you take 
your son . . . ? Will you take your son ? 

Sound. — Erda's voice is towering and deep with finality. The 
wind rises mournfully. . . . The tolling of the distant bell 
grows louder and louder and is the last to fade. The baby 
begins to cry in muffled, choked tones, gaspingly, after the 
manner of infants, leaving only the gasping, growing crying 
of the infant, alone in the silence. Then, a door opens and 
closes. Pause. 

Nurse. — (Genially) Hello? (Tentatively) Awake? 

34 ^ 



THE TWILIGHT SHORE 



Woman. — Y es . . . I . . . I’m awake. . . . 

Sound . — The baby is still crying, throughout. 

Nurse. — W ell, then! It’s a boy! A blue-eyed, bouncing baby 
boy! But, then, they all bounce. He’s a gem. 

Woman. — A . . . a . . . little . . . boy? 

Nurse. — Y es! With extra-capacity lungs. Listen to him! {She 
pauses a moment for the baby’s energetic yowling to register) 
Do you feel strong enough now? I mean . . . will you 
take your son, now . . . ? 

Woman . — {There is a kind of triumph and exaltation in her voice) 
Yes . . . yes. . . . Yes! Give me my son! 

Music . — Swell theme to finish. 



349 



BEST HISTORICAL DRAMA 



Peter Stuyvesant 

by Will McMorrow 
From The Cavalcade of America 

LROflR aRRRIMMHMIRRRRRiliMIftflliaOQgQOQQQOQOPOQOQQQOOOQ 

I N SEEKING the historical drama that was to be considered 
the best of its kind, a small mountain of material was 
examined, but the questions for assaying values were 
simple : Was it history ? Was it drama ? A great many of the 
specimens tested showed a high content of historical accu- 
racy ; a great many assayed high in dramatic value ; a few, 
including the one finally chosen, showed a proper and 
balanced content of both. 

In “Peter Stuyvesant” the writer has not overstepped 
the barriers of historical truth. At the same time he has 
given depth and breadth and meaning to a character who, 
at first glance, would have seemed to most of us to be as 
unyielding as one of his own statues. It is obvious that the 
writer of the drama has met the obstinate and cantankerous 
old Dutchman, has heard the tap of the wooden peg echoing 
on the wharves of New Amsterdam, has listened in, across 
the centuries, to the dialogue that ends the piece. We feel 
that the writer fully enjoyed meeting Peter Stuyvesant, 
sympathized with the gruff old empire builder, saw some- 
thing more there than a roaring tyrant and a swearing 
martinet; and in this sympathetic understanding of the 
man behind the one-dimensional picture lies the value of 
the piece. 

Cavalcade of America, the series from which this drama 
was chosen, has uniformly maintained a high standard of 
workmanship in accordance with the formula we have 
given above. In view of the research entailed, the variety 
of subjects and historical incidents involved, no one uniter 
can hope to maintain such standards alone, through con- 



350 



PETER STUYVESANT 



stant weeks of output. Consequently, the work of writing 
the half-hour dramas is given to free-lance writers who 
devote as much time to their chosen subjects as the research 
and writing require. Since each writer is especially inter- 
ested in the incidents or personages of some particular 
historical field, his approach to a subject is more sympa- 
thetic than if the subject had been arbitrarily assigned. 
That this working policy has proved successful is evi- 
denced by the high rating and immense interest in the 
program. Cavalcade of America is now in its fifth year on 
the air. 

Will McMorrow, the author of “Peter Stuyvesant,” is a 
former fiction writer, the author of some hundreds of short 
stories, novelettes, and novels in the magazine field. His 
work illustrates once more that inescapable truth about 
radio: the best broadcast, whatever its field, is the crea- 
tion of the best writer in that field. Here is Cavalcade’s 
(and Mr. McMorrow’s) Dutchman. 



351 



Peter Stuyvesant* 



BJULiLOJUULfiJLfl.fiJtJlJLgJULOJUlJLiL»ULOJUJU^^ 



Music. — Theme music in and down. 

Jewett. — The DuPont Company presents . . . 

Weist. — The Cavalcade of America! 

Music. — Up and down. 

Jewett. — With radio’s distingtiished commentator speaking for 
the DuPont Company . . . Gabriel Heatterl {Applause) 

Heatter. — Mention a figure in history to ten people . . . and 
nine, you will find, will be quick to classify him. One will 
say, “Why, he was a tyrant.” And one will say, “No, he 
was a patriot.” ... A division of opinion which makes 
turning back pages in a book of time a fascinating adventure. 
And more. Because, by turning back to read of days gone 
down a corridor of time, we learn to measure our own 
times . . . and even to see what future years may hold. 
Best of all, turning back makes it possible to recapture 
colorful and compelling figures. . . . 

Say a man like Peter Stuyvesant. To many of us I suppose 
Peter Stuyvesant was a cranky old gentleman who hobbled 
around on a wooden leg . . . quarrelsome, meddlesome, 
trying to run old New Amsterdam according to his own 
ideas. 

But before we tell you his story let’s hear Don Voorhees and 
the DuPont Cavalcade orchestra play “This Can’t Be Love” 
from the musical success, “The Boys from S5rracuse.” 
{Orchestra . . . overture . . . applause . . . music) 

Ladies and gentlemen! The narrator and chronicler of the 
Cavalcade of America . . . Tom Chalmers! 

Chalmers. — Thank you, Gabriel Heatter. Tonight we go back 
to the year 1647. A straggling village on the tip end of 

* Reprinted by special permission of Batten, Barton, Durstine and 

Osborn, Inc., authorized agents for The Cavalcade of America on behalf of 

the E. I. DuPont de Nemours and Company, Inc., sole copyright owner. 



352 



PETER STVYVESANT 



Manhattan Island. A disorderly settlement of Dutch fur 
traders, trappers in mangy fur caps, Indians smelling of 
wood smoke, sailors, town loafers, English adventurers, 
soldiers in tarnished gold lace, women and children. A 
cluster of houses around a fort that looked about ready to 
fall down. Miles of forest in back and just this toe hold 
that the Dutch West India Company had on the edge of a 
continent. A troublesome little colony, this New Nether- 
land, and the home government in Holland had been looking 
around for a man to handle the situation. 

Music. — Up and down. 

First Man. — We’re a free colony, and Peter Stuyvesant’s got to 
know it. No one’s going to order me around. Man or devil 
(Jade) or wooden-legged tjrrant. . . . 

Music. — Up and down. 

Second Man. — They say he’s going to make you close your 
tavern on time, now. No more sellin’ rotgut to the redskins 
with old (Jade) Peg-leg Peter watching. . . . 

Music. — Up and down. 

Mother. — He has a big beak of a nose like a buzzard. And a 
wooden stump of a leg. And do you know what he does to 
bad little boys who tease their sisters? He carries them off 
at night to his dark dungeon (Jade) and eats them alive. . . . 

Music. — Up and down. 

Third Man. — Peg-leg Peter, eh? He’s not going to march me 
aroimd like he did those soldiers when he was fighting (Jade) 
the Portugee. . . . 

Music. — Up and down. 

Fourth Man. — He’ll find we have minds of our own, here. We’ll 
tell that to Peg-leg Stuywesant (Jade) when he comes. . . . 

Music. — Up into roll of drums . . . peg-leg stomps on wharf. 

Stuyvesant. — I am Peter Stuyvesant, your new Director Gen- 
eral. Who are these people ? 

Kieft. — I’m Kieft, Your Excellency, former governor. We are 
here to welcome you in behalf of the citizens of this colony 
of New Netherland ... in behalf of the great and glorious 



353 



BEST BROADCASTS OF 1938-39 

free Dutch Republic, the noble West India Company, and 
Their High Mightinesses, the Estates General of Holland, 
whom we . . . 

Stuyvesant. — Yes . . . yes. A long way off those Estates 
General and Their High Mightinesses. We will talk of it 
another time. Why is that cannon being fired ? 

Kieft. — In your honor, Excellency. It was deemed proper . . . 

Stuyvesant. — A waste of good gtmpowder, my friend. We will 
save it for our enemies. That soldier there! Stand straight, 
man! You are a soldier not a civilian peddler! 

Soldier. — Yeah. That’s right. 

Stuyvesant. — “Excellency,” to me! 

Soldier. — Y-yes, Excellency. 

Stuyvesant. — That’s better. We will make something of you 
yet. {Loudly) Master Kieft, I have not come for speeches 
and cannon firing. I find many things wrong with your 
colony. I see here disorder . . . laziness . . . everything in 
ruins . . . every man a master. We shall clean up all this, 
go to work, and hold this spot for God and the Company. I 
shall govern as a father governs his children. But there 
shall be but one master here. {Crowd murmurs up) Too much 
dirt, too much talk, too many taverns. We cannot work and 
drink schnapps, too. That we shall see to first. 

Sound. — Crowd up threateningly. 

JocHEM. — Yah! Who is this slave driver who’s gonna make us 
close our taverns ? 

Stuyvesant. — Arrest that man ! 

Kieft. — Careful, Excellency. He has a knife. . . . 

JocHEM. — Who is this wooden leg to tell free citizens . . . 

Sound. — Scuffle and thud on planks. 

Stuyvesant. — Pick him up. Just a touch of my sword hilt to 
his thick head. You, there, soldier! And you! Lay hold and 
put that trouble maker in the stocks. Now we have had 
enough talk. Tomorrow we start rebuilding that fort . . . 
clean up this place. Here, you soldiers! Form up! Clear these 
good people off the wharf. March! 



354 



PETER STUYVESANT 



Music. 

Hans. — Are you a fool, man? It only takes a few bottles of 
firewater! The redskins’ll meet us up the river. We give ’em 
the grog, and we get their pelts. Then we sell the pelts, no ? 

Johann. — No. If old Peg-leg Peter catches us . . . he’ll put us 
in the stocks ! 

Music. — Up and down. 

Jacob. — Don’t go in. Not yet, kleinchen. We can go over to the 
Green and . . . 

Tina. — We can’t. No one may stay out after dark. 

Jacob. — I know. We can hide behind the big tree. 

Tina. — No! Peter Stuyvesant has ordered it so. Quick . . . 
imlatch the gate! The warder’s coming. 

Music. — Up and down. 

Sound. — Tavern murmurs. 

Hendrick. — One more . . . give us all another tankard of 
schnapps. 

JocHEM. — No. No, that’s all tonight. 

Willem. — Come on. . . . We’re still thirsty. 

Sound. — Banging of tankards. 

JocHEM. — No. I said no. I close the tavern. Peter Stuyvesant’s 
orders. 

Music. — Up and down. 

Chalmers. — You can picture him stumping around the old 
town with a silver-headed stick ready to crack down on 
any lazy worker and putting his shoulder to the wheel 
himself when he had to. They laughed at old Peg-leg, some 
of them . . . behind his back . . , and he was cordially 
hated by others. But somehow he got things done. A bit 
headstrong and arbitrary, but beneath that tough old hide 
was a fighting spirit and a firm belief in the future of New 
Netherland. He fought with his council for what he considered 
his right to run things his own way, but he was just as ready 
to fight the Indians or the English or anyone else that 



355 



BEST BROADCASTS OF 1938-39 

threatened this colony that, in the depths of his fighting 
heart, he had grown to love. 

At the age of sixty-three, rheumatics, wooden leg, and all, 
he led an expedition against the Swedish colony on the 
Delaware. The Indian tribes threatened New Amsterdam. 
Alarms sounded through the town. The villagers ran to 
Bowling Green. But old Peter was away. (Church bell . . . 
crowd) Panic on Bowling Green. Terrified colonists crowd 
into town, mingling with the villagers. 

Sound. — Crowd . . . church bell . . . women's hysterical voices 
. . . shots ojff. 

Jan. — They’re in the woods . . . north of the wall . . . thou- 
sands of ’em. Thick as blackberries. They’ve killed Van 
Dyck. . . . Werckendam’s farm is gone ... all his family 



Kieft. — Y es . . . we saw the smoke . . . and over there . . . 

Van Tienhoven. — A boat just drifted by ... on the river. A 
man and a woman . . . scalped. . . . 

First Woman. — What can we do? What can we do? Oh, my 
babies ! My babies ! 

Soldier. — Make way! Out of the way! Help me swing this 
blasted cannon. . . . 

Jan. — What for, you fool? You can’t do any good. . . . 

Kieft. — The powder! Where is the powder? Someone said we 
should hold the fort ! Get la Montaigne, somebody! He would 
know where the powder . . . 

Sound. — Crowd up .. . splintering of wood. 

Jan. — This way! Keep that crowd back! 

Soldier. — Help here, one of you! Get this cannon . . . 

Kieft. — Where’s Van Tienhoven ? He knows where the key is. 

Second Woman. — My man is at the palisades. Can’t anyone 
tell me where to go ? Willem . . . Willem . . . 

Kieft. — If only we had Stuyvesant here! 

Jan. — They sent a messenger yesterday ... if he got through 
the redskins. Look! Master Kieft! That cloud of dust on 
High Street . . . coming from the Water Gate! 

356 



PETER STUYVESA NT 



Van Tienhoven. — G od help us if they’ve taken the palisades! 
Into the fort, you people! 

Sound . — Above crowd in background, a rolling of drums. 

JocHEM. — Our men are falling back! The palisade is taken! 
They’re coming . . . thousands of ’em! We’ll be burned! 
We’ll be tortured! 

Jan. — S top it! Get into the fort, then. 

Kieft. — I f we had the ships now ... we could escape to the 
ships. . . . 

First Woman. — T hey’re coming! They’re coming! 

Soldier. — O ut of the way there! Out of the way before I ride 
this horse over you! 

Sound . — Crowd up . . . trampling . . . woman’s screams. 

Kieft. — H urry! Hurry! They’re coming. . . . Can’t anyone 
control this mob ? Somebody . . . back that cart out of 
the way ! 

Second Woman. — W illem! Where are you, Willem? 

Jan. — (Shouting) Wait! Everybody! Stop that noise! Can’t 
you hear it ? Listen, everybody ! (Crowd down . . . woman's 
sobs . . . rolling of drums off) The dnrms! Don’t you hear 
them? It isn’t the Indians coming through! They’re our 
drums ! Look . . . behind the dust cloud there ! 

Kieft. — (Joyful) He’s back! He’s come back! See! 

Van Tienhoven. — Y es, it is he. There ... in front. . . . 

Jan. — S tuyvesant! Old Peg-leg . . . he’s back! 

First Woman. — H e’s back! (Sobbing happily) He’s come back 
again ! 

Sound . — (Drums fading in .. . crowd cheering . . . cries of 
“Stuyvesant!” “Old Peter" . . . crowd and drums up and 
out. 

Stuyvesant. — S o! You are glad to see Stubborn Peter, eh? You 
need the old tyrant again ? 

Kieft. — Y our Excellency, in the present danger that the colony 
faces . . . 



357 



BEST BROADCASTS OF 1938-39 



Stuyvesant. — Master Kieft, you gave me a speech before. 
They are not good speeches. I am not satisfied with what 
I find here . . . disorder and an Indian attack when my 
back is turned. Doctor La Montaigne, you will take one 
troop and clear those woods to the north. Master Killean, 
you march at once to protect the river settlements. Seize 
what boats you need, and send the sailors ashore for arms. 
Master Cornelius ! Those two Indians in the stocks ! Release 
them for messengers to the tribes. I shall meet the sachems 
outside the palisade tomorrow at sunup. Let them teU their 
masters that Wooden Leg wants peace and {menacingly) 
... if he doesn’t get it quickly he will hang every zotscap 
savage to the highest trees in New Netherland! March! 
Now get these women into the fort, and every able man 
report here in 10 minutes, ready to march and fight! 

Music. 

Chalmers. — So, between bullying and cajoling ... for the 
old fellow was a diplomat when he wanted to be . . . 
Stuyvesant made peace and avoided what might have been 
a ghastly Indian war and the ruin of the colony. In his 
treatment of the Indians he was quick to punish, quick to 
reward, and honest. Never was an Indian brave allowed 
inside the smaller villages, and he outlawed any man who 
sold an Indian liquor. 

But in his dealings with his fellow burghers, the veteran 
soldier never could get it through his head that people did 
not always want to be ruled as a father rules his children and 
get smacked with a silver-headed cane every so often. 

Music. — Up and down. 

First Voice. — By order of the Director General: Henceforth 
regulations and decrees issued by us regarding the main- 
tenance of our Colonial defenses, the promotion of our 
commerce and territorial interests, the preservation of our 
internal welfare shall be unalterably obeyed and take immedi- 
ate and tmquestioned effect in full force and virtue. {Fade) 
Peter Stuyvesant. Director General. 

Music. — Up and down. 

Second Voice. — By order of the Director General: A series of 
fortifications are hereby decreed and by our command will 
be constructed according to our purposes and plans without 
further delay. {Fade) Peter Stuyvesant. Director General. 



Music. — Up and finish. 
Sound. — Crowd. 



PETER STUYVESANT 



Burgomaster. — And so, Your Excellency, we come to the 
matter of these new fortifications to protect the colony. 
With this insurrection that the English have started on 
Long Island . . . 

Stuyvesant. — Y es , . . yes, burgomaster. We know all about 
that, my friend. Let us get to the point. We must have 
this new palisade built. Now! We waste time talking about 
it. 

Burgomaster. — B ut, Your Excellency, the money for this work! 
We must have money. . . . 

Stuyvesant. — M oney! Money! That is all I hear. Find the 
money. Raise the taxes. Do what you like . . . but we 
must strengthen our defense. 

Sound. — Crowd murmur up. 

Burgomaster. — B ut the taxes must come from the people, 
Your Excellency, and already they complain that their 
money is being spent without their consent. 

Stuyvesant. — {Thumping table) Their consent! A thousand 
thundering duyvils! I must ask leave of every drunken 
beggar in town to build a wall around us ! 

Burgomaster. — T he people have a voice. Your Excellency. . . . 

Stuyvesant. — B ah! Tell me nothing of that, burgomaster. 
Rule by the people . . . rule by the fools and talkers . . . 
the clowns and bear skinners! Freedom! Freedom to be as 
dirty and lazy and helpless as when I first came to New 
Netherland! I am the law here for the Company . . . 
not the tavern loafers! I am the voice here! I . . . Peter 
Stuyvesant . . . Director General of this colony! 

Sound. — Crowd up angrily. 

Burgomaster. — W e shall try to raise the money, of course, if it is 
needed . . . 

Stuyvesant. — N eeded! You sit there like hens clucking on a 
roost waiting for the English fox, and you talk about 
fortifications being needed! Lawyers! Zotscapsl All of you! 



359 



BEST BROADCASTS OF 1938-39 

Mark my words ... if we don’t hold this spot for Holland 
and the Company, someone else will! We are alone . . . 
enemies on every side ! England ready to gobble us up 1 

Burgomaster. — A s to that, Your Excellency, whether this be 
the King of England’s colony or we hold it for the Nether- 
lands . . . one rule is like another. . . . {Crowd approving) 
But if the English were to destroy our farms and take our 
cattle . . . 

Stuyvesant. — Y our cattle . . . you dunce-head civilians! You 
would put your herds of cows above your flag ? 

Burgomaster. — T here are many of us here of that mind. Your 
Excellency. {Crowd up approvingly) The Dutch West India 
Company does nothing for our protection. They send us no 
powder, no shot, no ships, no soldiers but the handful we 
have to face these English. Why should we defend the 
Company who will do nothing for us ? 

Sound . — Crowd warmer. 

Stuyvesant. — E nough! You are a traitor! You are all traitors! 
I have listened to your idle talk. . . . Now you will listen 
to me. I know my duty here. We shall defend this colony 
with what we have ! I will raise the taxes and build a defense 
if I have to put every burgher in New Amsterdam in irons! 
{Crowd . . . angry protests) Enough of this! Sergeant! 
March your men in and clear this hencoop out! I am still 
the ruler of this colony ! 

Sound . — Tramp of soldiers , . . scuffle . . . crowd up. 

Messenger. — {Off) A message for His Excellency! The Director 
General ! Let me through here ! {Fading in) Excellency ! 

Stuyvesant. — Y es. Yes. What is it? Let him speak. 

Messenger. — T hey’ve come! Four ships. . . . They were 
sighted from the church steeple ... in the lower bay . . . 
four ships crowded to . . . the gunwales. . . . 

Stuyvesant. — W ho, man ? Speak up ! 

Messenger. — T he English, Your Excellency! They’re sending a 
boat ... a flag of truce. . . . 

Stuyvesant. — H ah! At last they come! Now it is swords . . . 
not words! You hear that, burgomasters? The English are 
in the harbor! 



PETER STUYVESANT 



Sound. — Crowd. 

Burgomaster. — E xcellency! What do you plan to do? 

Stuyvesant. — Y ou ask me that? I plan to fight! Jan Jans, get 
the dnimmers here. Run out the cannon! 

Burgomaster. — B ut can we not wait? They have not told us 
what they want. . . . 

Stuyvesant. — I know what they want . . . New Netherland. 
Four ships . . . you heard that. A thousand men at least. 
Do you think they come to play bowls on the green ? 

Burgomaster. — E xcellency, we cannot face such odds. They 
will ruin us . . . crush us . . . take away our farms ! 

Stuyvesant. — A nd so . . . you will not fight them ? 

Burgomaster. — T he odds are too great. We are not ready. The 
people will not face trained troops. . . . 

Stuyvesant. — W hat of it if the odds were twice as great ? Bah ! 
You are not soldiers. What are you? Shopkeepers! Traders! 
Talkers! 

Burgomaster. — O ur families. Excellency. Our wives and 
children . . . 

Stuyvesant. — S tand aside, cowards ! This I have made here . . . 
this New Amsterdam. You could not have made it. And you 
will not fight for it. But I ... I, Peter Stuyvesant . . . 
old as I am ... I will fight for it ... if I fight alone! 
Stand out of my way ! 

Music. ' 

Chalmers. — L ooking at it from any angle, there wasn’t much 
hope of saving the colony. But old Stubborn Peter wasn’t 
giving up without a fight. Once before he had bluffed his 
way out of a tight spot with the English, and he hoped to do 
it again. 

But this time it was different. The envoy that Stuyvesant 
sent to the English commander. Colonel Nicholls, to stall 
for time, came back with an ultimatum. New Amsterdam 
was to be handed over to the Duke of York, and, if there 
was any delay, the town would be destroyed. Stuyvesant 
tore up the ultimatum so the panicky burghers wouldn’t 
know about it and lined up his handful of soldiers. 



BEST BROADCASTS OF 1938-39 

Stuyvesant. — You are ready, Jan? 

First Guard. — Yes, Excellency. 

Stuyvesant. — Stand aside, so that I may see. Look, Jan! Your 
eyes are younger than mine. Do you see any boats on the 
river yet ? 

Jan. — No, Excellency. There are no boats coming. Only the 
English ones. 

Stuyvesant. — They should be here from Rensselaerwyck if my 
messenger reached them. Perhaps they come by land. 
{Crowd off) What is that I hear, Jan? 

Second Guard. — {Coming in) The people that are massed in 
High Street, Excellency. They are shouting for you to 
surrender. 

Stuyvesant. — Zotscaps! We will attend to them when we have 
beaten the English. Ready! 

First Guard. — Ready, Excellency. 

{Fade in crowd) 

Stuyvesant. — Hold your fire! Who is this? Ah, my brave 
burghers! Well, my friends, have you come to perform your 
duty? 

Burgomaster. — {Coming in) Your Excellency ... we must not 
open fire on them. It is hopeless. The people are crowding 
below. . . . They are getting out of hand . . . threaten 
to bum the fort. . . . 

Stuyvesant. — They dare do that ! 

Burgomaster. — They want to accept the English terms . . . 
save their homes. They are getting ready a white flag 
now. . . . 

Stuyvesant. — Traitors! Cowards! It is the English among us! 

Burgomaster. — Not so. Excellency. English and Dutch, they 
say the same. Our homes are at stake. The men from New 
England are at the palisades . . . ready to bum the town. 
Our people will not fight for the Company. . . . 

Stuyvesant. — For the flag there . . . 

362 



PETER STUYVESANT 



Burgomaster. — H eed me, Your Excellency. You are alone . . . 
a handful of soldiers. Not a man in the colony will raise a 
hand to help you. 

Stuyvesant. — B ah ! There is help coming. The men from Renssel- 
aerwyck . . . the river colonies. 

Burgomaster. — T hey are not coming, Your Excellency. They 
have sent word. Here is Doctor La Montaigne. You will 
believe him. 

La Montaigne. — I t is as the burgomaster says. Director General. 
Rensselaerwyck is not coming to your aid. The English 
offer fair terms. If you resist you will bring destruction on 
the town. 

Stuyvesant. — S o. They also have . . . betrayed us. 

First Guard. — {Of) Excellency! The English are coming. . . . 
We are ready to fire! 

Burgomaster — All these helpless people . . . our women . . . 
our children. Look, Your Excellency! They are in the streets. 
Only a madman would resist. . . . 

Stuyvesant. — P eace! Hold your peace! Yes, it is so. Let be, 
then. Go! Tell your Englishmen we will treat for surrender 
and . . . choose among you the greatest coward to haul 
down the colors ! 

Sound. — 0/ peg leg. 

Music. 

Chalmers. — A n end . . . and a, beginning, too ... for the 
town and the colony that Peter Stuyvesant ruled with an 
iron fist kept growing and remained under the English 
flag up to the Revolution. Old Stubborn Peter retired to his 
farm on the east side of Manhattan and raised fruit trees. 
... You can imagine he made them stand pretty straight 
in their rows, too, and no nonsense about them. He kept on 
friendly terms with Colonel Nicholls . . . now Governor 
Nicholls of New York Province ... as between one soldier 
and another. 

We catch a last glimpse of old Peg-leg Peter before the 
shadows close in. He is calling on Governor Nicholls in his 
mansion. The English governor is having some trouble 
with the people about quartering soldiers in their homes. 

363 



BEST BROADCASTS OF 1938-39 

Sound . — Spinet in background softly. 

Nicholls. — T he town cotmcil seems to be at the bottom of it. 
All this talk about the rights of the people! 

Stuyvesant. — S o. You are finding it, too, eh ? It is in the air, my 
friend. The new world . . . new ideas, new words. Freedom, 
the rights of the people. It was so in my day, too. It will 
always be so. 

Nicholls. — B ut you managed . . , somehow ... to keep it 
down. 

Stuyvesant. — T here was no time for it then. So much work to 
be done. One cannot work and talk, too. They were sheep 
. . . huddled here . . . and no shepherd dog to bark at 
their heels. I made them work. 

Nicholls. — A nd you succeeded. At least you overcame these 
mad notions of freedom . . . democracy . . . people’s 
rights. 

Stuyvesant. — N o. Those things I did not overcome. Your 
Excellency. One does not overcome a tide. These things 
they speak of . . . freedom and the rights of the people 
. . . like a tide coming in. No man can stop it. {Pause . . . 
spinet in background) I was too old, perhaps, to see. Too 
old to learn new things. A worker. A trudger. Those fanciful 
things . . . they are like the music that your lady plays 
there . . . strange and not for me. I tried to fight that tide, 
push back something in men’s minds. I failed. As you will 
fail. {Pause) Maybe it is better that I failed. The world is 
changing, and my work here is finished. Maybe they wiU not 
forget old Stubborn Peter. I found here nothing ... a few 
lazy men, frightened men, traders, tavern keepers, loafers 
... a place to rob for beaver skins and drink schnapps. 
The others that came before me ... Van Twiller, Kueft 
. . . did not see, looking only for their beaver skins. But 
I saw. 

Nicholls. — A future colony, yes. 

Stuyvesant. — S omething more than a colony. Your Excellency. 
An empire. Maybe they will not forget. Good night. . . . 

Nicholls. — Y our Excellency is leaving? It is early. . . . 

364 



PETER STUYVESANT 



Stuyvesant. — Yes, I sleep now. It gets late, and my work is 
done. I leave you your empire . . . for England. But 
England will not hold that empire. You cannot fight the 
tide. Good night! 

{Fade wooden stump) 

Music. 

Chalmers. — Yes, Peter Stuyvesant’s work was done . . . well 
done. And if, as they say, his ghost with plumed hat and 
silver-headed stick stumps through lower New York in the 
wee hours of the morning, he has the satisfaction of knowing 
that his visions came true. And in any man’s life that’s what 
really makes it all worth while. 

Music. — Up and finish. 

Chalmers. — Last week radio listeners everywhere were glad to 
hear that Gabriel Heatter . . . popular news commentator 
... is now a regular feature of this program. Every week 
at this time, he’ll bring you news of the wonders of chemistry. 
I am going to ask him now to tell you about one triumph of 
chemistry. Mr. Heatter . . . 

Heatter. — Thank you, Tom Chalmers. Good evening, everyone. 
A new day. A new week. And for me a new headline of 
better living for millions. A headline about Cellophane. Like 
many of us, I had always taken Cellophane transparent 
wrapping for granted until my visit to the wonder world of 
chemistry . . . and I realized here indeed is a chemical 
marvel of our day and age. 

For me Cellophane had always been just a wrapper for 
cigarettes, bread, candy, and cigars . . . but today I found 
lightning wrapped in Cellophane. When I say lightning, I 
mean it in the Benjamin Franklin manner . . . electricity. 
Yes, wrapped in Cellophane. Let me give it to you as a man 
in a wonder world of chemistry explained it to me in a few 
words. He talked of modem electrical motors . . . compact ; 
miraclelike; and built in a way to save every possible inch 
of space inside. 

For every inch of space which is saved inside means more 
room for wire; more wire means more power; more power 
means better living. The old way was to use a bulky insula- 
tion which required a great deal of space . . . and one 
day a man decided to try transparent cellulose film. Offhand 

365 



BEST BROADCASTS OF 1938-39 



you wo\ild say, “Fantastic.” But men who work in a wonder 
world of chemistry have seen many wonders come to pass 
. . . and here was one who decided to try Cellophane for 
a use to which it had never been put before. 

And it worked. And today, a thin winding of this material 
on copper wire does noble service on electric motors . . . 
stepping up power . . . and thousands of miles of ribbon 
Cellophane ... as narrow as of an inch . . . are now 
made each year for insulating electric wire. 

I am so fascinated by what I found it’s almost difficult to 
describe it in language quiet and restrained. Those DuPont 
men work wonders which tame aU fabled miracles. Picture 
Cellophane used as bandages in hospitals. It’s true. And the 
reason, simple. Surgeons find it important to keep certain 
kinds of wounds in plain sight. Cellophane bandages make it 
possible. 

I could call a roll of hundreds of uses for Cellophane. But 
tonight my mind turns to Christmas morning ... 2 weeks 
away. We have come out of a dark and weary strain, and 
everyone needs Christmas now as never before. And I am 
certain of aU wonders DuPont chemists have brought . . . 
they share with me tonight a vision of sparkle and gaiety 
and color which Cellophane will bring to Christmas gift 
wrappings. 

Well, today I was given a new little book that tells how to 
dress up Christmas gifts in these glorified wrappings . . . 
yes, makes it easy for anyone. And I’m told that DuPont 
will send this same book to you if you drop a postal card to 
them at Wilmington, Delaware. It will help you make 
Christmas a sparkling example of . . . better things for 
better living . . . through chemistry. 

Music. 

Heatter. — And now a word from Tom Chalmers about next 
week’s show. 

Chalmers. — We’re going to tell you about a man who lived 
during our own times. A man whose kindly ways and home- 
spim philosophy made him one of America’s great characters 
. . . Will Rogers. So imtil next week at this same time, good 
night and best wishes from DuPont. 

Music. — Up. 

Jewett. — This is the Columbia Broadcasting System. 

366 



BEST MELODRAMA 



The Eddie Doll Case 

From Gang Busters 

)ooQQQQQQooQQoafl flfl.a Aflgflooaflfla fl;^aflflflAitflaaflfloooo oQ 

P hillips H. Lord’s Gang Busters, dramatizing the 
never-ending war on crime by law enforcement agencies 
throughout the United States, has become one of radio’s 
leading dramatic programs. Created in July, 1935, and 
known as G Men, the program confined its scope to the 
interesting story of the agents of the Federal Bureau of 
Investigation and their fight on the underworld. 

After thirteen weeks of broadcasting, Mr. Lord decided 
to expand the subject matter of the program and to include 
the work of all law enforcement agencies in America. The 
program was renamed Gang Busters at this time. 

Since its inception. Gang Busters has broadcast the true 
story of over two hundred famous criminal cases, including 
the depredations of such unpleasant people as Dillinger, 
Pretty Boy Floyd, Karpis, Machine-gun Kelly, and others. 
Material for the Gang Busters program is obtained from 
police officials and the files of law enforcement agencies 
throughout the United States. This information is checked 
and double-checked for accuracy by the research depart- 
ment of Phillips H. Lord, Inc., before being turned over to 
a script writer for dramatization. 

Gang Busters is unusual among radio programs because 
of its fast-moving and, at times, stark writing technique. 
Inasmuch as each script is a true case history, the manner of 
writing these scripts differs considerably from that of 
most other programs on the air. Great attention is paid to 
brevity of speech, to simulation of the actual characters 
involved, and to colorful atmosphere, descriptive of the 
environment of those characters. The result is that the 
listener has an impression of having heard true facts 
dramatized as they happened without any of the usual 

367 



BEST BROADCASTS OF 1938-39 

embroidery that characterizes most melodramatic pro- 
grams on the air. 

Gang Busters today is recognized by police officials as 
an active civic agency in crime prevention work and 
receives the cooperation and assistance of police chiefs 
throughout the nation. Each week Gang Busters broadcasts 
over a nationwide CBS network clues furnished by police 
officials for criminals wanted by various police officials. 
Through these clues over a hundred and thirty-five crimi- 
nals have been apprehended by police officers, a fact not 
generally known to the public. 

Gang Busters, with its dramatic slogan, “Crime Does 
Not Pay,” has been endorsed by prominent educators, 
criminologists, and penologists as an effective aid in crime 
prevention work. 

One of the most effective and elaborate sound-effects 
setups in radio is used in this program. Three modem turn- 
tables with the latest gadgets, plus all kinds of manual 
equipment, keep two or three sound engineers busy during 
rehearsals and air shows. Gang Busters is considered a 
pioneer program in the use of new and startling sound 
technique, and many of the devices and effects that are now 
commonplace were developed by this series. 

Studio productions are handled personally by Phillips 
H. Lord, nimble creator of Seth Parker, We the People, Mr. 
District Attorney, and other hits. Most of the scripts are 
compact, well knit, and spunky, filled with plausible action, 
understandable plotting, and the properly acrid aroma of 
professional police work. In a dramatic series dedicated 
solely to the pursuit and conviction of public enemies, it is 
remarkable that the temptation to go overboard in a splash 
of histrionic bathos has been so well resisted. “The Eddie 
Doll Case,” which has been selected for this book, is a fine 
example of the series. It is not, and should not be, literature. 
It is straight, compressed dialogue, and for its type, the 
show performs its function with economy and direction and 
a commendable absence of hokum. Its chief virtue is that, 
although it is muscular throughout, it is nowhere muscle- 
bound. 

“The Eddie Doll Case” was heard over the CBS Network 
January 18, 1939. 

368 



The Eddie Doll Case* 



fiSLSULSLJiSLSlSULJLSLJLSULJLSLkSiSiSLSLSLSLS^ 

CoLONEL.f — Dr. Simon, I understand that tonight’s ease con- 
cerns Eddie Doll, alias Eddie Larue, alias Burlington Eddie, 
aUas Edward Foley. 

Simon. — Yes, Colonel Schwarzkopf. The case starts on September 
i6, 1930. Late at night, in the gang’s hide-out at Lincoln, 
Nebraska, a barren room in the back part of a dilapidated 
apartment house. The shades were drawn, the windows 
sealed. The room was stuffy . . . blue with smoke ... a 
tenseness was in the air. The gang was waiting nervously. 

Sound. — Sneak in footsteps walking back and forth. 

Rogers. — Sit down. Buck, and take a load off yer feet ! 

Tim. — Yeah. You gimme the willies walking around! 

Buck. — We may have ter bump the two guards off. . . . 

Rogers. — Forget it. Wait until Eddie Doll gets here. He’s got 
all the low-down. 

Tim.^ — I’ m glad Doll has joined up with the gang. He’s got a 
cool head. . . . He’s slick. . . . He ain’t one of these guys 
that goes off half cocked. 

Buck. — This is going ter be the smoothest bank job ever pulled 
in this country 1 

Sound. — Three knocks . . . two knocks. 

Buck. — There’s Doll now. . . . 

{Half fade) 

Tim. — Make sure before you unbolt that door. 

Sound. — Footsteps under Tim's line. 

* Reprinted by special permission of Colgate-Palmolive-Peet Company, 

sole copyright owners; sponsors of Gang Busters and makers of Palmolive 

Shave Cream and Palmolive Brushless Shave Cream. Copyright, 1939. 
t Script written by Brice Disque, Jr. 



I 



369 



BEST BROADCASTS OF 1938-39 



Rogers. — W ho is it ? 

Doll. — A guy. 

Sound . — Slip bolt . . . door opens and closes . . . footsteps. 

Doll. — H i. . . . 

Sound . — Subdued gang greets Doll. 

Tim. — H i, Doll. 

Doll . — {Moving chair) Everybody here ? 

Buck. — Y eah. . . . When we going ter crack the job ? 

Doll. — W e’re going ter crack it in the morning, boys. 

Sound . — Slight reaction. 

Rogers. — W hat’s the dope? 

Doll. — T his is going ter be the most perfect bank cracking 
ever pulled in this country . . . and the biggest. One 
million dollars. 

Buck. — E verything’s set. 

Doll. — W e’re going to rehearse this thing inch by inch right 
now. I’ve got every emergency covered. . . . 

Buck. — W e been working on it 3 months. 

Doll. — B uck, you’re responsible for the getaway. If an5rthing 
slips we’ll all get lead poisoning. . . . Give the boys the 
setup. 

Buck. — H ere’s the map of our getaway. {Sound of paper) The 
car will do 70. You guys jumps in. . . . We heads north, 
take the tirm into Elm Street. . . . They’re working 
on the road, so only one car can pass. I’m giving a taxicab 
driver 100 bucks. After we pass, he starts to drive through 
. . . stalls his car ... so anybody chasing us will be 
stuck. 

Rogers. — D oes he know what we’re up to ? 

Buck. — O f course not. ... I told him it was a wedding party 
trying to get away. ... We keeps going ... on the state 
highway over the railroad track. We turns ofi the highway, 
here, and heads for the hangout. I’ve drove over that route 



370 



THE EDDIE DOLL CASE 



three times a day for the past 2 weeks. I could drive it 
blindfolded. 

Tim. — How about license plates ? 

Buck. — I got that fixed, too. . . . While we’re driving we can 
drop off the license plates . . . and swing new ones on. 
O.K., Doll? 

Doll. — All right. Now . . . fer weeks I’ve had all you guys 
going in the bank . . . having money changed. ... I 
hired a vault terday . . . got a good look through the cellar. 
{Rustle of paper) Here’s a picture of the inside of the bank. 
There’ll be four guns in the bank . . . one in this drawer 
here . . . one in that drawer there. . . . and the two guards 
are always standing right here in front of this cage. Frank 



Frank. — Y eah! 

Doll. — Y ou stands to the right of this guard, and Tim stands 
to the right of this one. . . . 

Tim.— O.K. 

Doll. — A t the signal . . . you crack them guards . . . snatch 
their guns. I’ll get the two guns from the drawers. Ten 
seconds later, Sweeney comes in the bank with a machine 
gun. He covers the customers. {Ad lib agreement) We touch 
nothing in the bank but money. ... We leave no finger- 
prints. Remember that ! 

Buck. — S uppose the two guards puts up a fight. 

Doll. — F rank and Tim bumps ’em off. Now . . . let’s study 
the layout. We’ll spend the rest of the night memorizing 
every detail. 

{Fade in) 

Sound. — Slight hank commotion . . . adding light background. 
{Fade in) 

Man. — G ood morning, Mr. Smith. ... I’d like to cash this 
check. 

Teller. — C ertainly, Mr. Brown. 

Doll. — S tick ’em up. . . . This is a holdup 1 
{Quiet) 



371 



BEST BROADCASTS OF 1938-39 



Doll. — N umber three . . . keep ’em covered with that machine 
gun. If anybody makes a move, mow the whole bunch down. 

Rogers. — R ight. 

Doll. — N tunber one . . . 

Buck . — {Half off) Yes, sir . . . 

Doll. — S coop all the loose cash into those latmdry bags. Hey, 
you . . . you bank guy! Come here. Come with me and 
swing back the door of that vault. 

Bank Guy. — Y es, sir. 

Sound . — F ootsteps . 

Doll. — S wing it back. 

Sound . — Several bolts. 

Doll. — O ne false move and you’ll get lead poisoning. . . 
Scoop all those bank notes into that bag. 

Sound . — Much change being poured into bags . . . many packages 
of bills being tossed in .. . continues under 
{Fade in) 

Rogers. — T here’s a lot of loose money in these drawers, boss. 

Doll. — T ake yer time. Pal. . . . This ain’t no peanut robbery. 
Keep cool. ... Use yer heads. This is going to be a million 
dollar haul. . . . Lug the full bags of money as far as the 
front door. 

Sound . — Change going into bags out. 

{Fade in) 

Buck. — T here’s a crowd collecting in front of the bank. 

Doll. — L et them collect. . . . We’re collecting in here. 

Rogers . — {Coming on) We got everything, boss. 

Doll. — Y ou guys carry those bags. {Projected) Don’t one of 
you people take one step to follow us ... or we'll shoot 
holes in you. Come on. . . . (footsteps) 

Doll. — N umber three . . . you stand at the door with the 
machine gun. As soon as we’re all in the car, we’ll give you 
the signal. 



372 



THE EDDIE DOLL CASE 



Rogers. — Check. 

Doll. — Come on. (Footsteps . . . crowd gets louder . . . sound 
of motor idling) Throw the bags of money in the back. 
(Several thuds) Sound the signal. . . . Everybody get in. 
(Horn two long blasts) Here come the rest of the gang. . . . 
(Car door slams) Step on it, Buck. 

Sound. — Roar of motor up strong and fade out. 

Colonel. — As I recall, Dr. Simon, that million dollar robbery 
was the biggest bank robbery ever staged in this country. 
Please tell our Palmolive Shave Cream listeners what 
happened next. 

Simon. — At that time. Colonel, bank robbery was not under the 
jurisdiction of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, but 
the Lincoln, Nebraska, authorities asked the F.B.I. to 
furnish them with what information it could. On September 
19, 1930, Inspector Haynes of the Federal Bureau of In- 
vestigation was in his private office in Washington, and I 
want you to see how a large organization operates in gather- 
ing complete information about a criminal. . . . 

Sound. — Door opens and closes. 

(Fade in) 

Dennison. — You sent for me. Inspector Haynes. 

Haynes. — Dennison. This bank robbery in Lincoln, Nebraska, 
is the cleanest bank job ever done in this country. 

Dennison. — There isn’t a clue. . . . 

Haynes. — Not one . . . hut . . . we’ve got to find one. Now 
I’ve got here a complete report of how the robbery was 
executed. I want to check the modus operandi of this gang. 

Dennison. — Every musician has a definite individual musical 
touch. . . . Every painter has his own style. . . . Every 
criminal has his own individual approach to a crime. 

Haynes. — Yes, Dennison. We know there are some dozen gangs 
of bank robbers in the Middle West. . . . We know some 
recent gangs have been broken up. . . . 

Dennison. — You mean this robbery may have been committed 
by a leader who had his schooling from some gang that’s 
already been caught ? 



373 



BEST BROADCASTS OF 1938-39 



Haynes. — T hat’s it. And if we can find a Middle Western gang, 
which operates similar to the procedure used in this robbery, 
it’ll be a nail to hang our hat on. 

Sound . — Buzzer . . . click. 

Haynes. — Y es? 

Filter i. — M r. Frank is here, Inspector. 

Haynes. — S end him in at once. 

Filter i. — Y es, sir. 

Sound. — Click. 

Haynes . — {To Dennison) I’ve asked several of the men to get 
reports on some of these Midwestern gangs, Dennison. . . . 

Sound . — Door opens . . . closes. 

Frank. — F rank reporting. Inspector. 

Haynes. — G et a report on that Salta gang ? 

Frank. — Y es, sir. . . . They pulled four bank robberies. In each 
case, they shot the guards, and in each case they were 
careless about fingerprints . . . and they didn’t bother 
to take along loose silver. 

Sound . — Buzzer . . . click. 

Haynes. — Y es? 

Filter i. — O’B rien is waiting. Inspector. 

Haynes. — T ell him to come in. 

Filter i. — Y es, sir. . . . That’s all, Frank. 

Frank. — Y es, sir. 

Sound . — Door opens . . . closes. 

Haynes . — {To Dennison) Dennison . . . the Salta gang had 
no part in this bank robbery. This gang we’re looking for 
scooped up the loose silver. . . . They left no fingerprints. 



Sound. — Door opens and closes. 

Dennison. — And the leader of the gang we’re chasing had 
brains. 



374 



THE EDDIE DOLL CASE 



O’Brien. — {Coming in) O’Brien reporting, sir. 

Haynes. — W hat about that Hoosier gang, O’Brien? 

O’Brien. — T here are six robberies laid to them. Inspector. In 
all six cases they entered the bank, bound their prisoners, 
took all money . , . incltiding loose silver. Only in one 
case was there shooting of a guard. The gang wore gloves 
in all cases, and only in one instance did they desert their 
car. 

Haynes. — T hanks, O’Brien. ... Is Smith waiting outside ? 

O’Brien. — Y es, sir. 

Haynes. — A sk him to come in. 

O’Brien. — {Fading) Yes, sir. 

Sound. — Door opens and closes. 

Haynes. — D ennison . . . this gang sounds more like the one 
we’re after. . . . their not shooting guards agrees. . . . 
Not deserting their car agrees. . . . Taking all loose silver 
agrees. . . . 

Dennison. — B ut the tying up of all those in the banks. . . . 

Sound. — Door opens and closes. 

Haynes. — T hat’s where the Hoosier method differs from the gang 
that pulled this job. Hello, Smith. . . . 

Smith. — {Comes on) I got reports on the Five-finger Mob and on 
the Yates gang. 

Haynes. — L et’s have them. 

Smith. — Three bank robberies during the past year have been 
laid to the Five-finger Mob. In every case they’ve been 
scared off. 

Dennison. — I sn’t that the gang that always leaves a girl in the 
car out front as a blind ? 

Smith. — Yes, sir. 

Haynes. — U m . . . they’re just a rattlebrained mob. But there 
was a super thinking mind in back of this Lincoln, Nebraska, 
job. What about the Yates gang? 



375 



BEST BROADCASTS OF 1938-39 

Smith. — Broken up about two years ago. Three of them caught 
. . . one shot. . . . Yates and two others escaped. Nothing 
has been laid to this gang during the past 2 years. 

Haynes. — W hat was their procedure ? 

Smith. — (Rattle of papers) I have it here. They entered the bank 
. . . made a thorough sweep of money . . . held employees 
at machine gun point. ... In four cases they got reserve 
money from vaults, had a car waiting to make escape. In no 
case did they ever desert the car. 

Haynes. — T hanks, Smith. That’s all. 

Smith. — Y es, sir. 

Sound. — Steps . . . door opens and closes 

Dennison. — I nspector, that’s the same modus operandi used in 
the Lincoln, Nebraska, robbery. 

Haynes. — Yes, Dennison. (Rustle of paper) This report says that 
back in February our St. Louis field office was notified 
that a sheriff in Macomb, Illinois, picked up an Edward Doll 
for stealing a car. Doll was arrested, placed tmder $3,500 bail 
. . . skipped bail. A car thief doesn’t usually have $3,500 to 
put up as bail ... or to throw away by not appearing. 

Sound. — Dictograph. 

Haynes. — F ingerprint Department ? 

Filter i. — Y es, sir. 

Haynes. — ^L ook up the record of Edward Doll. . . . See who 
he’s been connected with in the past. 

Filter i. — Y es, sir. 

Sound. — Dictograph click. 

Dennison. — A re you figuring that Doll may have joined up with 
the Yates gangl 

Haynes. — ^L et’s think now. The Yates gang always makes a 
thorough cleaning of the bank. That tallies. They don’t tie 
the customers and employees. That tallies. 

Dennison. — A nd their general plan of procedure was similar to 
the procedure just used in this bank robbery. 

376 



THE EDDIE DOLL CASE 



Haynes. — A ll right. , . . Yates and two of his pals are still at 
large. . . . Edward Doll skipped his bail 4 months ago. 
. . . It’s taken several months to plan this bank robbery. 
. . . Why do all of these facts fit so perfectly ? 

Sound . — Dictograph buzz . . . click of receiver. 

Haynes. — I nspector Haynes speaking. 

Filter i. — R eport on Edward Doll . . . arrested several times 
on minor offences . . . known to be exceptionally clever. 
... It is possible that he is one of the leaders reorganizing 
a Western bank robbery gang. That’s all. 

Haynes. — O.K. . . . 

Sound . — Dictograph click. 

Dennison. — S o Doll does know Yates? 

Haynes. — O f course some of this is hypothetical, but Doll may 
have learned his bank robbing from Yates and now is even 
more clever. See that a picture of Doll, his history, and all 
of these facts are sent to the Nebraska authorities. It may be 
a good lead. 

Simon. — A number of, months went by. Colonel . . . Doll com- 
pletely disappeared. Then suddenly . . . 

Filter 2. — Kidnaping . . . South Bend, Indiana. Kidnaping 
corresponds to description of Edward Doll, recently dis- 
tributed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. 

Filter, i. — L ocal bank in Tupelo, Mississippi, just robbed by 
Machine-gun Kelly. Description of his companion fits 
Edward Doll. Wanted ... all information on Machine-gvm 
Kelly and Edward Doll. 

Filter 3. — Attention . . . attention. . . . United States mail 
robbery at Effingham, Illinois. . . . Believe leader of gang 
was Edward Doll. 

Chief. — W ell, Colonel, orders came from headquarters to the 
G men to redouble their efforts to get Edward Doll. In- 
spector Haynes again called Dennison into his ofl&ce in 
Washington. 

Haynes. — D ennison, all we know up to now is Edward Doll is 
somewhere in this cotmtry . . . and we’ve got to find him. 
I’ve just received some additional information. 



377 



BEST BROADCASTS OF 1938-39 



Dennison. — Something I haven’t heard? 

Haynes. — Yes. Reports from all over the country. Doll’s weak- 
ness is pretty girls. Has been known to visit Alice Kahn 
of New Orleans, Mildred Barling of San Francisco, Lucy 
Weber of Denver, Joan English of St. Louis. . . . There’s a 
long list of them here, sir. 

Sound. — Dictograph buzz . . . click. 

Haynes. — Inspector Haynes. 

Filter i. — Report on Doll, sir. Used to pal around with ICathryn 
and Machine-gun Kelly. We have his fingerprints . . . 
specimens of his handwriting, and a good picture of him. 

Haynes. — Send it aU in immediately. 

Sound. — Click of dictograph. 

Haynes. — Well, Dennison, we’re not very far ahead. 

Dennison. — Wait, Inspector, here’s information I’ve dug up. 
Doll is fond of motion pictures . . . especially gangster 
pictures. And get this. . . . He has tattoo marks on both 
his right and left forearms. A heart and an anchor and 
figure of a girl on his right forearm ... a cow girl and 
pierced heart on his left forearm. And he’s quoted as having 
said that eventually he’s going to retire to a chicken farm. 

Haynes. — Well, now we’re getting somewhere! {Dictograph 
buzz . . . click) Inspector Haynes. 

Smith. — {Filter) Men at one of our Western field offices have 
just been to the jail and talked with Machine-gun Kelly. 
They didn’t let Kelly know they wanted information on 
Doll . . . but they asked a lot of questions about other 
things, and Kelly intimated that about 9 months ago Doll 
married a girl by the name of Janet Galaton in New York. 

Haynes. — Thanks, Smith. 

Sound. — Click. 

Dennison. — Doll’s already married. Inspector. 

Haynes. — That wouldn’t stop him from marrying again. Um 
. . . that’s the best tip we’ve had yet. 

378 



THE EDDIE DOLL CASE 



Dennison. — It’s going to be a big job to examine all the marriage 
licenses in New York. They probably got married under 
fictitious names, too. 

Haynes. — {Thinking) Let’s see. . . . Doll meets a girl . . . 
wants to marry her. Is he going to let her know who he 
really is? If she were the type of girl that he could take in 
as one of the gang ... he wouldn’t care if she knew his 
identity. Right, Dennison? 

Dennison. — Yes. 

Haynes. — But ... if Doll doesn't want her to suspect anything, 
then he can’t ask her to sign a fictitious name to the marriage 
license. He’d change /iw name . . . but that marriage license 
is going to contain her real name. We’ve got to find a license 
made out to Janet Galaton. 

Colonel. — Dr. Simon, I know the most interesting part of the 
case will be the police search for Janet Galaton, but before 
you tell us about that, Frank Gallop has a few words for 
our listeners. 

{Commercial) 

Colonel. — Dr. Simon, you were telling us that Inspector Haynes 
and Dennison went to New York to check the marriage 
license records. 

Simon. — Yes, Colonel Schwarzkopf, for over a month. Inspector 
Haynes and Dennison worked in the marriage bureau of 
New York, carefully going over every marriage license. It 
was a tedious job. {Fade) Then, late one afternoon . . . 

Sound. — Typewriters and office hum in background. 

Dennison. — {Tense) What is it. Inspector Haynes? 

Haynes. — This is worth our weeks of tiresome checking, Den- 
nison. A marriage license made out to Miss Janet Gabrielle 
Galaton and Mr. Leonard E. Foley. 

Dennison. — Janet and Galaton are fairly common names. 

Haynes. — Married to Leonard E. Foley. . . . Give me that 
sample of Doll’s handwriting. 

Dennison. — Sure, here it is. 

Sound. — Rustle of paper. 



379 



BEST BROADCASTS OP 1938-39 



Haynes. — Let’s see. . . . Leonard E. Foley. . . . Um . . . 
Edward Doll. Those two E’s are written exactly the same 
way. 

Dennison. — Yes . . . the ends on those two D’s are the same 
too . . . and notice the R’s ? 

Haynes. — Dennison, it’s our first clue! 

Dennison. — Foley gives his address there as the Nemo Hotel, 
Dallas, Texas. . . . That’s probably fictitious. 

Haynes. — But Janet Galaton gives her address as Danville, 
Vermont. That’s probably correct. Come on, Dennison. 
We’re going to Danville, Vermont. 

Simon. — Several hours later. Colonel, Inspector Haynes, and 
special agent Dennison, posing as traveling salesmen, 
arrived at Danville, Vermont. They rented a car and drove 
up to the local post office. 

Sound. — Car stopping. 

Dennison. — But why come to the post office, Inspector? Let’s 
go up to her home. 

Sound. — Turn motor off. 

Haynes. — This is safer. 

Dennison. — Why ? 

Haynes. — Janet Calaton doesn’t know she’s married to a man 
like Doll, does she ? 

Dennison. — No. 

Haynes. — If she doesn’t know, her parents don’t know. 

Dennison. — Um . . . 

Haynes. — It’s natural for parents to communicate with their 
daughter. If they don’t realize there is any need for secrecy 
the most natural communications would be through the 
mails. 

Dennison. — I get you. 

Haynes. — The safest way to close down on a criminal is not to 
let anybody in the world know you’re looking for him. 
Come on ... in the post office. 

380 



THE EDDIE DOLL CASE 



Sound . — Door of car . . . footsteps on cement . . . change foot- 
steps to wood. 

Haynes . — (Fade in) How do you do. 

Postmaster. — H ow do you do, sir. 

Haynes. — I’ d like five 3-cent stamps. 

Postmaster. — Y es, sir. 

Sound . — Money on counter. 

Haynes. — S ay ... by the way. . . . Would you direct me 
to the home of Janet Galaton? 

Postmaster. — Y es, sir. You turn right ... a mile up the road 
... a green house on the right-hand side. 

Sound . — Sealing letters. 

Haynes. — T hanks. Thought I’d drop in and surprise her. 

Postmaster. — S he’s not at home now, you know. 

Haynes. — (Disappointed) Doesn’t she live here any more? 

Postmaster. — (Laugh) Hasn’t for a year. Married now . . . 
married some out-of-town fellow. 

Haynes. — I’ m awfully disappointed. Say ... I guess I’ll drop 
her a postal card from here, though. You don’t happen to 
know her address offhand, do you ? 

Postmaster. — Y es. . . . Her folks sent her a package yesterday 
and insured it. . . . The slip . . . here it is. The package 
was sent to Mrs. Janet G. Foley, Box 270A, Route No. 2, 
St. Petersburg, Florida. 

Haynes. — T hanks. I’ll drop her a card. (Slight pause) 

Colonel. — T hat was a clever piece of work. Dr. Simon. Please 
tell our Palmolive Shave Cream audience how Inspector 
Haynes followed it up. 

Simon. — W ell, Colonel, 4 days later. Inspector Haynes and 
special agent Dennison arrived in St. Petersburg and talked 
with the local post office officials. 

(Fade in) 



V#' 



BEST BROADCASTS OF 1938-39 

Haynes. — B ut I tell you there must be a Leonard E. Foley 
listed somewhere here in St. Petersburg. 

Post Officer . — {Florida accent) No Leonard E. Foley in the 
city directory. 

Haynes. — I s the postman who delivers over Route No. 2 aroimd ? 

Post Officer. — H e may be in the other room. (Fade) I’ll see. 

Haynes . — {Lower voice) What do you think, Dennison ? 

Dennison. — F unny there isn’t a Leonard Foley in the directory. 
{Fade in) 

Post Officer. — M r. Jenkins was just going out delivering mail. 
He has Rural Route No. 2. These two gentlemen are Federal 
officers, so answer anything they ask you. 

Postman 2 . — {Florida accent) Yes, sir, 

Haynes. — W e have the address of a Leonard E. Foley, Box 
270A, Route No. 2. Know anything about him? 

Postman 2. — Why . . . about 2 weeks ago he wrote out an 
order that all mail addressed to Foley should be delivered 
. . . Wait a minute. . . . I’ve got that order here in my 
book. 

Haynes. — G ood. . . . Did he write the instructions himself ? 

Postman 2. — Yes, sir. 

Haynes. — D ennison ... let me have that sample of Doll’s 
handwriting. 

Dennison. — J ust a minute. 

Sound . — Shuffle of cards. 

Postman 2. — Here’s the note he wrote out. Says to deliver any 
mail addressed to Janet or Leonard Foley to 5190 38th 
Avenue North. 

Haynes. — L et me see the paper. . . . Um . . . Dennison . . . 
notice this E. , . . See this R. . . . 

Dennison. — T hat’s his handwriting ! 

Haynes. — H e and his wife have a house out there ? 

Postman 2. — Yes, sir. Farm about 35 acres. They raise chickens. 
382 



THE EDDIE DOLL CASE 



Haynes. — When’s the last time you saw him ? 

Postman 2. — He come out to the postbox about 2 days ago. 

Haynes. — Thank you, gentlemen, very much. Come on, Denni- 
son, we’ll go out and see this Mr. Foley! 

Sound. — Slight pause . . . motor fading in. 

Haynes. — That looks like the house, Dennison, ahead on the 
right. 

Dennison. — Think there’ll be shooting. Inspector ? 

Haynes. — There will be if he can get his hands on his gun . . . 
but first we’ve got to make sure he’s the right man. 

Dennison. — Remember the tattoos. He should have a heart and 
anchor and a girl tattooed on his right forearm. . . . 

Haynes. — But on his forearm ... if we try to force him to roll 
up his sleeves there may be shooting. 

Dennison. — That would be a sure way to identify him, though. 

Sound. — Car slows up. 

Dennison. — There’s a man around back of the house. 

Sound. — Car stops. 

Haynes. — {Low) Change your gim into your outside pocket. 

Dennison. — {Low) Right. 

Sound. — Car door opens . . . feet in straw walking. 

Haynes. — {Calling) Hello, there. Mind if we come out back and 
see you ? 

Doll. — {Distance) Come on. 

Sound. — More walking. 

{Fade in) 

Haynes. — We’re interested in bu}dng some chickens. . . . 

Doll. — {A little surprised) You ain’t farmers. . . . 

Haynes. — No . . . we’ve just moved to St. Petersburg. Thought 
we might arrange to get fresh chickens from you. 

3^3 



BEST BROADCASTS OF 1938-39 

Doll. — I ain’t selling any. Wait a minute till I close that gate. 
{Fade) All the chickens will be out. 

Dennison. — {Whisper) Think it’s Doll? He’s about the right 
size . . . heavier, though. 

Haynes. — {Whisper) We got to get a look at his forearm. 

{Fade in) 

Doll. — W hat did you two fellers stop for, anyhow ? 

Haynes. — I told you. . . . We’d like to have you kill us a fresh 
chicken every Sunday. You’ve got a nice place here. . . . 
This big hogshead makes a good watering trough. 

Doll. — Y eah. . . . It’s always full of water, too. . . . This 
hose nms from that spring over there and keeps the hogs- 
head full. 

Haynes. — ^L ook here. Bill. . . . Lean over and look in it. . . 
Isn’t that water clean ? 

Dennison. — M ighty clear. 

Sound. — Drop watch in water. 

Haynes. — O h! I dropped my watch into the water! You’ve 
got your coat off, sir. . . . would you roll up your sleeves 
and get it out before the water gets into the works ? 

Doll. — A ll right. . . . Wait a minute. . . . {Bending over and 
grunt . . . swish of water) There. . . . 

Haynes. — T hanks. ... It was awfully careless of me. 

Dennison. — G ot a tattoo mark on your arm, haven’t you ? An 
anchor and a girl. ... You must have been a sailor. 

Doll. — N o. ... I did it for the fim of it. 

Dennison. — T his is interesting. . . . Tattoo always fascinated 
me. . . . Let me see it. . . . 

Doll. — S ure. 

Haynes. — T hat’s beautiful work. 

Dennison. — B est I’ve ever seen ! 

Doll. — Y ou fellas think this is good? Wait til you see my other 
arm! 

384 



THE EDDIE DOLL CASE 



Haynes. — {Leading him on) Oh, you’ve got another tattoo ? 

Doll. — {Prottdly) Look at this! 

Dennison. — A cow girl and a pierced heart. 

Haynes. — Hold your arms out together so I can compare the 
two designs. 

Doll. — Sure. What do ya think of ’em ? 

Sound. — Sudden click of handcuffs. 

Doll. — {Astonished) Hey. . . . What’s the idea . . . ? Take 
these handcuffs off me! 

Haynes. — Edward Doll, you’re wanted for the million dollar 
bank robbery in Lincoln, Nebraska; the South Bend kid- 
naping and too many other crimes to mention. 

Doll. — So you know me? How’d you find me? ... I didn’t 
make one false move. 

Haynes. — That’s one of the things that helped us find you, Doll. 

Simon. — And that. Colonel, was the end of Eddie Doll, master 
mind of the biggest bank robbery ever committed in this 
country. 

Colonel. — What happened to Doll, Dr. Simon ? 

Simon. — He was sentenced to a long term in a Federal peni- 
tentiary. 

Colonel. — Thank you. Dr. Carleton Simon, for telling us 
this gripping case. You and I know that no matter how 
cunning a criminal may be, no matter how cleverly he may 
cover his tracks, sooner or later he is boimd to be imcovered 
and suffer the full penalty of the law. Tonight’s case has 
brought out vividly our oft-repeated statement . . . 

THE CRIMINAL CANNOT WIN. 



BEST DRAMATIC MONOLOGUE 



The Steel Worker 



by Arch Oboler 



■5LOJLO.fl 

HE DRAMATIC monologue is a radio rarity, and it is a 



great misfortune that this is so. Henry Hull has 
appeared in one or two; Sheila Barrett and Cornelia Otis 
Skinner have been heard many times in humorous bits of 
monologue. A year ago Barbara Weeks gave Dorothy 
Parker’s famous piece, “The Telephone,’’ a splendid read- 
ing; Ruth Draper, greatest monologist of this generation, 
made her first and only radio appearance over four years 
ago. But the total does not add up to a trend or to anything 
sufficiently regular to be looked forward to as an estab- 
lished feature in radio as we know it today. 

This situation may seem uninteresting and unimportant 
to many people, and I am not concerned with an argument 
for the case. I have said only that it is a misfortune, and I 
believe this not so much for the sake of the monologue itself 
as for the shift in conditions that explains its virtual dis- 
appearance. I do not wish to suggest a return of the bird 
imitator. Rather it is my feeling that America’s habits of 
entertainment have sustained a dislocation that nothing is 
going to change much very soon. Radio and movies and 
automobiles have done it. There are no more Chautauqua, 
no vaudeville, few popular lecture series, and no itinerant 
wits. Even circuses are having a bad time. 

Although the public is still responsible for the type of 
entertainment it is currently receiving, it appears that the 
public no longer has much to do with it directly. America 
is being entertained by professionals; she has ceased to 
entertain herself. All one needs to do to determine how true 
this is is to compare an average Tuesday evening (after 
Information Please has signed off) with a Tuesday evening 
of twenty-five years ago. Nobody can recite any more, no 
one can declaim, and the business of elocution has passed 




386 



THE STEEL WORKER 



into wheezing senescence. This may be all right; I do not 
know. I only know that if the testimony of my grandfather 
is reliable, those of us who never heard Artemus Ward 
missed a considerable something. Today we do not make 
our fun ; it is made for us. 

Now, although it is perfectly true that what we can buy 
is better than what we can make; although it is true that, 
despite the passing of the annual county pumpkin show, 
America is better entertained and more entertaining than 
ever before, it is equally true that spontaneous artistic 
diversions of even the most rudimentary intention have 
left the American scene, perhaps forever. Today we are 
critics and appreciators ; we have ceased to be participants. 

The humble monologue, simplest of dramatic forms, 
hangs upon the upright body of modern entertainment as a 
sort of vestigial tail. But, like many other enduring institu- 
tions, it is as respectable as it is humble, for it is the oldest 
entertainment known to man. It is the only genuine 
primitive in the entire gallery of dramatics. Radio, by rea- 
son of its peculiar character, can (if it will) express this 
known but neglected truth more forcefully than any other 
medium except the stage. I have heard bad monologues on 
the air, but I have heard surprisingly few. This is because 
as an art form in drama it is the most natural. It was com- 
mon in pre-Christian times; it is common in all Oriental 
countries today; it occurs throughout the Bible and 
Shakespeare, and I believe it is something that radio will 
embrace increasingly. 

A well-written, pointed monologue is a challenge to any 
actor. He is obliged to turn himself into a one-man show. 
Because so few actors can meet this challenge, the standard 
set by the good monologue is as animating as it is healthy. 
The piece that I have selected reveals many of the inherent 
opportunities afforded by this type of dramatic writing; 
opportunities to the writer and performer alike. Arch 
Oboler, whose monologue is reprinted, has used this 
medium for its commentary advantages. Oboler, who was 
mentioned in the prefatory statement to “The Lighthouse 
Keepers,” is one of radio’s best-known and most prolific 
writers. 



3S7 



The Steel Worker* 



flftflflflOPQOOOaagOggflflfl flaOflOQOQOOQQQOQQOQPQOOOOQOO 



Announcer. — T he scene ... a hill overlooking Steel Town. 
Far below, the furnaces roar with flame. . . . The great 
chimneys pour smoke up to the cold blue sky. 

Alone, one Giorgio Maslarovic, steel worker, sits looking 
down into the valley of steel. He lifts his face, a face lined 
deep with sorrow, and speaks. 

Giorgio . — {Quietly . . . reminiscingly) I tell you ’bout it . . . 
sure. . . . Me ... I used like go to de mill, yah! I come 
up de street. . . . De air, she’s cold. . . . De sky she’s 
black like inside empty furnace. ... I laugh. . , , {Laugh- 
ingly) I say, “Hey, you old sim! You sleep late! Ah, dot’s 
all right for you, but me, Giorgio Maslarovic, I got go mill. 
... I got go make steel ! . . . 

{Chuckles) Yah, dot’s what I say. . . . {Chuckles) I keep 
walkin’ to de mill. ... I see my frien’s. . . . Dey go 
work, too. Joe, Steve, Nick, Hasan . . . frien’s from ole 
country. . . . Good, strong Croatian hands dey got, like 
me . . . strong hands for to make strong steel. . . . 

Dey walk along. Dey say . . . {back . . . calling) “ Kako 
siti?’’ . . . How’s everytin’, George? 

I say . . . {up) “Dobro! Dobro! Everytin’, she’s fine! 
She’s goin’ be good day for make good steel!’’ {Chuckle) 
Dey laugh! Dey say goin’ be good day make mona buy 
more shoe, and pants, and bread, and meat for kids. . . . 
{Sighs) Ah, t’ings for kids. . . . Yah, I t’ink dot’s good, 
too, make mona for buy t’ings for wife and kids . . . mona 
for send to old moder back in old country so she has eat. 
Yah, make mona for dot . . . dot be very good t’ing. 

* All rights reserved. Professional and amateurs are hereby warned that 
“Steel Worker,” being fully protected under the copyright laws of the United 
States and other coimtries, is subject to a royalty, and anyone presenting the 
play without the consent of the owner or his authorized agents will be 
liable to penalties provided by the law. The amateurs’ acting rights are avail- 
able only in limited territories. Do not make arrangements for the presen- 
tation of this play without first securing permission and terms in writing 
from Rudy Vallee at 9 Rockefeller Plaza, New York City. 



THE STEEL WORKER 

{In close, fervently) But first I like make steel! Good steel! 
Steel what run out white wit’ blue fiame ’round on top! 
Steel what cool slow red like the sun when she falls down 
from sky! Steel what run slow t’rough rollin’ mill, blue-black 
steel like night when stars shine out real sharp an’ cold! 
Yah . . . good steel ! Dot my life, I tell you ! 

Music. — Mossolov’s “The Steel Foundry” begins, continuing 
behind 

I go in mill. . . . Right away I hear music. Yah, music 
I tell ya! Every momin’ when I come to mill, I hear it! 
Out of furnace . . . out of smokin’ pits . . . out of forges 
and de rollin’ mills! A biumin’ music ... a hammerin’ 
music . . . singin’ out of de blowers . . . out of de ma- 
chines draggin’ de ingots . . . out of de furnace and hot 
pits! Every momin’ when I come in de mill I can hear it! 
I listen. ... I feel good. ... I like it. . . . It sing over 
and over again . . . de song of de steel ... a good song 
for de good steel! And den . . . yah, I no fool you . . . de 
steel, she talk right out to me! Yah, to me, Giorgio Mas- 
larovic ! She talk to me strong and straight like a good 
woman talk! She say, “Hello, Giorgio! To work! To work, 
my frien’! (Laughs) Make me strong . . . yah, make me 
strong! I got be strong, Giorgio . . . strong for to hold 
big buildings on my back! Strong for to cross deep river! 
Strong for to hold train! Strong for to make house for 
peoples! Ah, I got hard work to do, Giorgio, so make me 
strong, my frien’ !’’ 

I laugh. I say, “Sure! Sure, I make you strong for such 
good t’ings! Sure, my frien’, de steel, I make hard work 
for to make you strong steel!” Yah, me . . . Giorgio 
Maslarovic, I do it! (Chuckles) And den de machines . . . 
de big cranes and de rollin’ mills and de hammers, dey 
laugh with me! Dey laugh and say, “Sure Giorgio! We help 
you! We help you make steel strong!” And de wheels go 
faster, faster over and over the whole mill I hear dem talkin’, 
talkin’, sayin’, “Yah we help Giorgio! We help Giorgio! 
We help make strong steel! Strong steel for building what 
go up to de sky! Strong steel for trains what go fast! 
Strong steel for tool what make good t’ing for people to 
live better! Faster! Faster! Work! Work! Steel! Steel! 
Make steel strong! Make steel good! Good steel! (Up) 
Good steel! 

Music. — Out. 

3S9 



BEST BROADCASTS OF 1938-39 

Giorgio . — {Voice dead . . . hopelessly) And den for long time 
is no work. Layoff. . . . No more smoke from mill chimney. 
No more song from furnace. Everytin’, she’s cold and 
quiet. No work, no work. I sit by home. ... I wait. ... I 
know the world need for de steel. Yah, the mill, she start 
again. . . . She’s got to! The peoples need good house, 
good tool, good everytin’ de steel can make. . . . Yah, so 
I wait. ... I wait. . . . Some day . . . {In growing 
excitement) And den one day de whistle blow! I run to 
door! My frien’s call, “Giorgio, come on! De mill, she’s 
open! The work, she start!’’ I grab my wife, my kids! I 
laugh! I jump! Right! I was right to wait! De time, she’s 
come! De world wants steel again! Good steel! I run to de 
mill! “It’s me!’’ I say. “I come for work! . . . Me, Giorgio 
Maslarovic!’’ Dey say, “Sure, Giorgio! We got work for 
you . . . plenty of work!” Ha ha . . . it’s good . . . it’s 
good! I run into de mill! I no can wait! My frien’, de steel 
... I want to hear her! I got to hear her! 

Music . — Begins again . . . final measures of composition. 

Giorgio. — {Aghast) But no . . . de song, she’s no de same. I 
know it right away! Is not de same! But why? What hap- 
pen? Why she’s not de same? Why? . . . And den de 
steel, she talk. And dis time her talk is no so sweet! Is 
hard talk like woman talk in street! She say {harshly), “To 
work, Giorgio Maslarovic! Get to work! I am airplane now 
what drop bomb from sky! I am gun now what shoot to 
kill! I am t’ing called “tank” now what crush out little 
people! To work, Giorgio Maslarovic — to work! Got no 
time for t’ings like building! Got no time for plow, and 
bridge, and train, and houses! Gun and airplanes . . . 
bomb and bullet! Make me fast now, Maslarovic! Make me 
fast for kill de people! Work, Giorgio Maslarovic! Work!” 

Music . — Reaches climax and out. 

Giorgio.^ — {Up) No! Not me! I don’t make steel for dat! Not 
for guns ! Not for kilHn’ ! No, not me ! Let me eat de dirt from 
fields first! Let my kids starve in de streets first! But not 
for guns! {Up madly) I hate de steel! 



390 



BEST ORIGINAL PLAY (COMMERCIAL) 



Expert Opinion 

by True Boardman 
From The Silver Theatre 

T he initial broadcast of the Silver Theatre was pre- 
sented on Sunday, October 3, 1937. The story, “First 
Love,” an original written for Silver Theatre by Grover Jones 
and adapted by True Boardman, was a four-episode vehicle 
in which Rosalind Russell and James Stewart appeared for 
four successive Sunday afternoons. This was a definite 
departure in commercial radio programing. Half-hour 
dramatic broadcasts had, until then, either told one com- 
plete story in each thirty-minute period or projected one 
major story line throughout a series of at least thirteen 
weeks’ duration. It was felt that the Silver Theatre should 
allot to the telling of each story as much time as was 
needed to tell that story well. In other words, a complicated 
plot that could not be satisfactorily condensed into the 
half-hour format was presented instead as a continued 
story in two, three, or four parts. As a result of this thinking. 
Silver Theatre has been able to offer its listeners material of 
greater depth and scope than might otherwise have been 
possible, the additional time allowing for clearer characteri- 
zation as well as for more detailed development of situation. 
Many stories, however, are ideally suited to the half-hour 
period, and more than fifty per cent of the scripts used on 
Silver Theatre are concluded in a single episode. 

With the exception of an occasional magazine story. 
Silver Theatre presents original material specifically written 
for the program. Story ideas are purchased from both 
motion picture and radio writers and then adapted for the 
show by True Boardman, its staff writer. Mr. Boardman 
has also contributed a number of his own originals to Silver 



BEST BROADCASTS OF 1938-39 

Theatre, one of which, “Expert Opinion,” is published 
here. 

There is a scene in “Expert Opinion” in which Gerald 
Conway is being questioned by alienists. The reader will 
note that in this sequence the device of the montage is 
employed to progress the action to a point that would have 
otherwise required at least six full scenes. While the use of 
the montage was not entirely new to radio when Silver 
Theatre first went on the air, it has probably been used 
with more regularity as a legitimate radio device on this 
commercial series than on any other. In scoring the music 
for the montages, Conductor Felix Mills thinks in the terms 
of a dramatist, subordinating the melody to the mood of the 
scene. Appropriate harmonies and rhythms add to the 
effectiveness of the montage without ever making the lis- 
tener conscious of a musical accompaniment. 

Silver Theatre, believing that listeners are prepared to 
welcome more mature radio drama, frequently presents 
actors and actresses who are of the same opinion. In these 
instances, star, writer, and producer spend many hours 
together in an effort to achieve the production they’re 
seeking. “Expert Opinion” is a case in point. In discussing 
with Robert Montgomery the policies of Silver Theatre 
and his own story preferences, Mr. Montgomery pointed 
out that although he had had ample opportunity to display 
his versatility in the motion picture “Night Must Fall,” 
an equal opportunity had never been afforded him in radio 
appearances. When True Boardman learned that Danny, in 
“Night Must Fall,” was one of Mr. Montgomery’s favorite 
characters, he conceived the story of the manic depressive, 
Gerald Conway. 



392 



Expert Opinion* 



QOOOOQOOOOOOOOOOQO Q gO OOOgfi SLSLSULSUUlJLJiJLSLSi^^ 

Music. — Opening signature. 

Conte. — International Silver Company presents the Silver 
Theatre ! 

Music. — Musical progression. 

Conte. — Starring Robert Montgomery in “Expert Opinion.” 
. . . Directed by Conrad Nagel. 

Music. — Musical Progression. 

Conte. — Brought to you in behalf of two of the greatest names 
in silverware . . . International sterling, world-famous solid 
silver . . . and 1847 Rogers Brothers, America’s finest 
silver plate ! 

Music. — Theme . . . fade to background. 

Nagel. — Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. . . . This is 
Conrad Nagel, greeting you from the stage of the Silver 
Theatre in Hollywood and bringing you the twenty-ninth 
in our new series of dramatic productions. Among the many 
brilliant personalities whose names grace our guest book 
for future dates are Melvyn Douglas, Constance Bennett, 
Joan Crawford, Douglas Fairbanks, Jr., and Helen Hayes. 

And now a word about today’s story. There are, as I am sure 
you all know, really two Bob Montgomery’s in one. There is 
the debonair Bob of such pictures as Metro-Goldwyn- 
Mayer’s currently popular “Fast and Loose.” Then there 
is that other Bob . . . sinister and menacing . . . who 
brought us the unforgettable characterization of Danny 
in “Night Must Fall.” In debating which of these such 
Messrs. Montgomery should bring you in Silver Theatre, we 

* Copyright, 1939, by True Boardman, and reprinted by special permis- 
sion of the author and Young and Rubicam, authorized agents. Permission 

to perform this play can be had only through arrangement with True Board- 

man or with his agent. 



393 






BEST BROADCASTS OF 1938-39 

hit upon the novel idea of presenting both of them . . . 
in successive weeks. So while next week, in an entirely differ- 
ent play, you will meet Montgomery, the scholar and 
gentleman, tonight you will meet the other Montgomery 
. . . also a scholar . . . but certainly no gentleman. For 
Bob is going to play the role of Gerald Conway ... in 
“Expert Opinion” ... a psychological drama by True 
Boardman. 

Music . — Curtain raiser. 

Nagel. — T he house lights dim. The Silver Curtain rises. The 
scene ... an office in a metropolitan building, a strange 
office, large, yet somehow dark and somber. Heavy curtains 
drape the walls and windows ... all save where a single 
shaft of light breaks through and casts its beam across the 
massive desk. This, the sanctum sanctorum . . . the private 
inner office of Gerald Conway . . . president and general 
manager of Conway Investment Company. As we meet him 
first he is standing before a combination radio-phonograph, 
listening intently. In the chair before the large desk sits his 
secretary, Evelyn Spear. 

Music . — Over above . . . has segued to '"Conway Melody” . . . 
to be selected . . . perhaps Sibelius's “Valse Triste” . . . 
record continues in background. 

Evelyn. — (Tersely) If you’re going to keep on playing that 
record. I’ll leave. I thought you sent for me to take dictation. 

Gerald . — (His normal manner of speech is quiet . . . incisive, 
with just a suggestion of scorn. We have the feeling that he is 
nearly always smiling ... a smile which, were we to see it, 
we would probably dislike without knowing exactly why) I did. 
You’re nervous today, Evelyn. Whenever this music upsets 
you, I know you’re not yourself. 

Evelyn. — A nd suppose the music does upset me ? Who wouldn’t it 
upset ? That one melody a dozen times a day . . . week in 
week out . . . month on end. . . . Why ? 

Gerald. — S uppose we just call it my eccentric taste in music. 
But ... if you will. . . . (Music out . . . laughs deprecat- 
ingly) We’ll get to work. Take a letter. To all stockholders 
in Conway, Inc. My good friends, aU. As president and gen- 
eral manager of our great corporation, it is with sincere 



394 



EXPERT OPINION 



pleasure that I inform you of a further expansion of our 
great company. And I . . . 

Evelyn. — (Dryly) There’s no need for you to dictate this, you 
know. I can write it from memory. You’re doing now what 
you’ve done before with all your other promotions. Conway 
Incorporated is broke ... so you’re pyramiding. . , . 
Floating a new subsidiary to keep it going. But of course 
your dear, faithful stockholders musn’t know that. Oh, no 
... we must make them think it’s a privilege to pour 
more of their sand down this particular rat hole. 

Gerald. — S o charmingly graphic, Evelyn. Charming. . . . 
Where were we? Oh, yes. And I am offering to each stock- 
holder ... an opportunity to . . . (Breaks off as) 

Sound . — Door opens. Outside the door we hear a sudden commotion 
. . . subsequent speeches of Markham and Lewis are simul- 
taneous off. 

(Fade in) 

Markham. — I will see Conway . . . and there’s no one going 
to stop me. I’m going to see him! 

(Fade in) 

Lewis. — Y ou can’t go in there. If you make an appointment . . . 

Lewis. — M r. Conway, I tried to . . . 

Gerald. — (Calmly) It’s all right, Mr. Lewis. The gentleman 
wishes to see me . . . ? 

Markham . — (He is near hysteria . . . low . . . tense) You! 
You don’t even remember me, do you? You could take my 
money. That was easy . . . but now you don’t even know 
my name. (Slight pause) 

Gerald. — B ut of course I do. You’re Markham . . . Edgar 
Markham of West Avenue. Sit down, Mr. Markham. 
Er, Mr. Lewis . . . Miss Spear ... we can continue 
later. 

Evelyn. — Y es, sir. 

Sound . — Door closes. 

Gerald. — A nd now, Mr. Markham . . . I . . . (Remembering) 
Oh, may I offer you a drink ? 



395 



BEST BROADCASTS OF 1938-39 

Markham. — {Tersely) No. 

Gerald. — S moke ? 

Markham . — {He rushes on .. . almost incoherent in his anxiety) 
No ! You know why I’m here. My stock. . . . Two thousand 
dollars’ worth. I saved 5 years to get that money . . . 
and you were sure you’d double it. You told me so! And 
it’s no good! It’s no good! Do you hear? 

Gerald. — {Quietly) Don’t you suppose we could talk this matter 
over quietly ? 

Markham . — {A different tone) Quietly? You want it quietly. 
All right. ... I want my money ... all of it .. . and I 
want it now. Every dollar I invested in this swindle of 
yours. Do you understand that, Mr. Conway? You’re 
going to give me back that money! 

Gerald . — {Coolly . . . after slight pause) Oh, am I ? 

Markham. — W hat do you sit there grinning for ? 

Gerald. — M r. Markham . . . this concern of yours astonishes 
me. I was sure I had the confidence of all oiu: stockholders. 

Markham. — O ur confidence? You formed three companies 
down South 5 years ago ! They all went bankrupt. And now 
this company is going to the wall, too ! 

Gerald. — I t is? And who says so? 

Markham. — E verybody! I heard it at my bank! And on the 
street. 

Gerald . — {Starts to laugh) 

Markham. — W hat are you laughing at ? 

Gerald. — A t you, Mr. Markham. A sober, intelligent business- 
man . . . allowing yourself to be upset by foolish sidewalk 
rumors. 

Sound . — Door opens . . . off. 

Gerald. — O h, Miss Spear. . . . Please ask Mr. Lewis {seeing 
him) . . . Oh, Lewis . . . 

Lewis. — {Approaching) Yes, Mr. Conway. 

396 



EXPERT OPINION 



Gerald. — S omehow Mr. Markham has gotten some false infor- 
mation about our financial status. Take him and set him 
right, will you, Lewis? Even show him the company books 
if he desires. 

Markham. — I may see the company books ? 

Lewis. — I’ d be glad to. Come along, sir. 

Gerald. — G lad you dropped in, Markham. 

Markham. — {He’s been railroaded . . . and senses it) Yeah . . . 
yeah . . . thanks. . . . I . . 

Gerald . — {Going right on) You’ll get a letter in a day or so . . . 
about a new subsidiary. You want to give it some thought. 
It’s a splendid proposition. Good day. Come in. Miss Spear. 

Evelyn. — Y es, sir. 

Sound . — Door closes . . . slight pause. 

Gerald . — {With a sigh of relief) You heard? 

Evelyn. — W ho could help it ? 

Gerald . — {That smile again) He had a gun. 

Evelyn. — {Startled) A gun! 

Gerald. — I n his right-hand pocket. ... So little imagination 
these fools have. What about some music ? 

Music . — Starting record . . . anticipate above orchestra . . . 
plays melody again. 

Evelyn. — G erald! How can you go on like this ? You talked that 
man out of here today. But he’ll be back. Because you and 
I both know Conway Incorporated is going to collapse. 
And that will mean a government investigation. Then 
what are you going to do ? 

Gerald. — W hat would you suggest ? 

Evelyn . — {Slight pause . . . then impulsively) Gerald ! Get out ! 
Now! A plane! Out of the country. You have more money 
already than you’ll ever need! Please . . . please go before 
it breaks on top of you. You’ve got to, Gerald. {Slight 
pause . . . different tone) For my sake ! 

Gerald. — F or your sake. And what will you do ? 



397 



BEST BROADCASTS OF 1938-39 

Evelyn. — I’ ll . . . I’ll go with you! Take me, Gerald. I don’t 
care where. Just so you’re safe . . . and we’re together. 

Gerald . — {Very slight pause) “Just so we’re together.” 

Evelyn . — {Not wanting to go on) Gerald. . . . {Slight pause) 
You’re going to make me say it, aren’t you? You’ve known 
for months. ... You must have known. But you’ve 
been waiting for me to put it into words. All right. I don’t 
care now. I love you! 

Gerald. — W ell! This intrigues me. {Laughs softly) It’s taken 
longer than I expected. 

Evelyn. — S top laughing! Gerald! 

Gerald. — {Sighs) You women can never keep business separate 
from emotion, can you ? So you had to fall in love with me. 
Why, Evelyn? Tell me. I’m interested. Because, you see, 
I know that you don’t like me. You never have. There’s a 
part of you that’s hated me from the first, yet now you’d 
run away with me. It’s very funny. Don’t you agree? 
{He laughs) 

Evelyn . — {After a pause . . . slowly . . . with rising fury) 
So it’s fimny is it? Well, laugh then! I can laugh, too! 
Because you’re right! I do hate you. I had an idea that 
somewhere . . . far inside of you there was the shadow 
of a man ... a man that I could love and respect, but I 
was wrong. Because you’re not a man at all. You’re . . . 
you’re ... a kind of devil. 

Gerald. — A nd you would be my good angel, is that it? I’m 
afraid you’re not the type, Evelyn. And if you were . . . 
{Sound of slap in face ... he laughs) Yes, that would be 
next. A woman impotent of speech will turn to violence. 
It never fails. You’d better go now, Evelyn. At this point 
a woman in your position either becomes hysterical or 
wildly violent. And neither alternative appeals to me. 
So, suppose you just leave . . . quietly. And believe me 
... I’m sorry for you. 

Evelyn . — {An almost inaudible gasp of powerlessness) Oh ! 

Gerald. — {Tauntingly) Well . . . ? 

Evelyn . — {Almost a whisper) I wish I could kill you ! 

39S 



EXPERT OPINION 



Gerald. — {In the same tone) Who knows? Perhaps you will. 
{Then he laughs) Good-by, Evelyn. 

Sound. — Door opens . . . slams . . . slightly ojff. 

Music. — T ransition. 

{Fade in) 

Gerald. — {Yawning) What is this, Lewis. What’s the idea of 
waking me at this hour? And you, too, Thomas? You’re 
supposed . . . 

Lewis. — We had to, Gerald. It’s happened! This is it. 

Gerald. — What are you talking about ? 

Thomas. — The stockholders. They held a secret meeting tonight. 

Lewis. — Evelyn Spear was behind the whole thing. She told 
the stockholders that the whole setup of the corporation 
was crooked from the start. 

Gerald. — Evelyn said that, did she? {Laughs) “No fury like a 
woman scorned.” I might have expected this. In fact, I 
think I did. 

Thomas. — You expected it? Well, then, you must realize that 
you’ve got to leave the state. Now . . . before they can 
swear out a warrant. 

Gerald. — You’re my lawyer, and you ask that, Thomas? 
Think of the fee you will lose if I don’t stand trial. 

Thomas. — I’m not a fool, Conway. I’ve gotten you out of jams 
before, but on this one there’s no chance. When they start 
digging up the other promotions that have failed, they’ll 
compoimd felonies against you till they have enough to 
send you up for life. 

Lewis. — He’s right, Gerald. You’ve slipped up this time. 

Gerald. — You should know by now that I never slip up, Lewis. 
You say they’d send me up for life. They won’t. 

Lewis. — Now, look, Gerald . . . I’ve . . . 

Gerald. — No . . . you look. Both of you. I think this is a part 
of my library you’ve never seen. 

Sound. — Small doors open. 



399 



BEST BROADCASTS OF 1938-39 

Lewis. — {W onderingly) Hey . . . ? 

Gerald. — R ead some of those titles. . . . 

Lewis . — Textbook of Psychiatry . . . The Criminal Psychote . . . 
Psychology of Criminal Behavior. {Breaks off) I don’t get 

it. 

Gerald. — I t’s qmte simple. You’re looking at perhaps the most 
complete library in this country on criminal insanity. 

Thomas. — Y eah, but what’s it all about? 

Gerald. — A bout? About the insane, Thomas . . . the insane 
. . . how they got that way . . . and how they act when 
they are. You see ... as it happens . . . I’ve been 
planning for just this moment. 

Lewis. — B ut, look. . . . What has your knowing how insane 
people act got to do with . . . ? 

Gerald. — I t’s got everything to do with it, Lewis. You see . . . 
Thomas here will bear me out that there’s a law in this 
state which says that insane persons are not liable to 
imprisonment for crime. They are liable to be sent to a 
state institution for a minimum period of a year ... to be 
released when they can prove themselves sane again. . . . 
And what’s a year ... if there’s plenty of money waiting 
at the end of it? {Slight pause . . . that smile again) I 
wonder now ... if you understand. 

Thomas. — {Unbelieving) You . . . you’re going to plead not 
guilty ... by reason of insanity ? 

Gerald. — E xactly, Thomas, exactly. . . . Because you see . . . 
a certain Gerald Conway made up his mind just 5 minutes 
ago . . . that he is hopelessly and positively . . . insane. 

Music . — First act curtain. 

Sound. — Applause. 

Nagel. — T his is Conrad Nagel, ladies and gentlemen, turning 
the spotlight . . . during this brief moment of intermission 
... on the familiar figure of our Silver Theatre spokesman 
. . . John Conte! 

Conte. — I think most of you will agree, ladies and gentlemen, 
that background does count! And women who surround 



400 



EXPERT OPINION 



themselves with beautiful, genuine possessions show it ! 
Realizing this, more and more modem young couples are 
choosing sterling silver for their new homes . . . solid 
silver of lifelong service and enduring beauty, bearing the 
fine old name International Sterling! You, too, will be 
lavish in your praise of International sterling silver . . . 
particularly their thrilling new pattern, “Prelude”! For 
“Prelude” possesses heirloom standards of craftsmanship. 
Its lines are incredibly graceful and tapering ... its rose 
ornament richly, handsomely carved! An inspired pattern 
of solid silver through and through that’s perfectly at home 
with fine crystal, new damasks, and the traditional elegance 
of fine china. And though you may think that silver so 
exquisite must necessarily be far beyond your means, it 
actually is not. For under International Sterling’s budget 
payment plan you can buy a complete service of “Prelude” 
sterling out of income \ ... Or you can build a solid silver 
service by purchasing single place settings of “Prelude” 
. . . one or two at a time ... as low as $16.75! Your 
silverware dealer will be delighted to explain the complete 
details if you’ll visit him tomorrow . . . Monday. So be 
stu*e to see him and discover for yourself that solid silver . . . 
International sterling silver ... is easier than you thought 
to buy . . . more thrilling than you dreamed to own! 

Music . — Second act curtain raiser. 

Nagel. — O nce again the lights are being dimmed, and the Silver 
Curtain rises on the second act of “Expert Opinion,” 
starring Robert Montgomery as Gerald Conway. The col- 
lapse of the Conway Investment Corporation, Gerald’s 
arrest . . . and subsequent surprise plea of “Not guilty” 
by reason of insanity has been headline news for weeks. 
And the prosecution has assured the hundreds of enraged 
investors that Conway’s obvious attempt to evade justice 
will not succeed; that he will be proved sane and sent to the 
penitentiary. Meanwhile, Gerald Conway himself, released 
on bail, is at his home. . . . 

{Fade in) 

Sound. — Voices . . . question and response coming rapidly. 

Lewis. — T able ! 

Gerald. — C hair ! 



401 






BEST BROADCASTS OF 1938-39 

Lewis. — Sickness ! 

Gerald. — Doctor. 

Lewis. — Mountain. 

Gerald. — Trees. 

Lewis. — Cold. 

Gerald. — Ice cream. 

Lewis. — Sweet. 

Gerald. — Bitter. 

Lewis. — Lamp. 

Gerald. — ^Light. 

Lewis. — Hxmgry. 

Gerald. — Food. . . . {Eagerly) Faster, Lewis . . . read them 
faster. 

Lewis. — {Concerned) But wait a minute, Gerald. You’re giving 
the right answers for these words. 

Gerald. — {Smilingly) Exactly, Lewis. That’s just the point. You 
see, this kind of test is one they always use if they suspect 
a person is feigning his insanity. Association of ideas. What 
other word does a given word suggest ? 

Lewis. — But you’ve been saying things these words do suggest ! 

Gerald. — Ah, but so does an insane person, Lewis ... at least 
the kind of insane person I have decided to be. Namely, a 
manic depressive. 

Lewis. — A manic depressive . . . 

Gerald. — One of the subtler forms of mental derangement, 
Lewis. What a pity you don’t know about these things. 
Here . . . {Fading slightly) Here, let me show you. {Sound 
of book being taken from shelf) I think it’s best described in 
this book of Altman’s. {Riffles through pages) Here . . . 
read this. . . . 

Lewis. — “The manic-depressive type. Here the individual is 
subject to violently alternating moods. In the low or depres- 
sive mood, he is frequently uncommunicative and monosyl- 



402 



EXPERT OPINION 



labic. Reaction time is slow. He believes himself persecuted 
by friends and relatives. Often cries in self-pity . . . even 
contemplates suicide.” (Stops) 

Gerald. — (Eagerly) Go on ! The manic state. Read about that. 

Lewis. — “In the opposing manic or elated state he has exagger- 
ated ideas of his importance. A frequent symptom is extrav- 
agant dreams and nightmares. There is a record of the 
patient who boasted that he dreamt of owning all the 
money in the world . . . and then scattering it broadside 
to the poor. And in another case ...” 

Gerald. — You see, it’s quite simple, Lewis. When I can learn 
from books like these how other insane men have acted, 
what’s to prevent me from imitating their insanity to the 
last detail? 

Lewis. — But these men who’ll examine you . . . they’ll all be 
experts. 

Gerald. — And they’ll be dealing with an expert. Remember that. 
(Laughing a little) I wouldn’t worry if I were you. Another 
week of studying the cases in these books . . . and 1’U be 
ready for them. In fact ... I’ve an idea I’m going to 
enjoy my little venture into madness. I’m sure of it. 

Music. — Transition segue into mechanistic montage behind flashes 
of question. 

First Doctor. — Black. 

Gerald. — White. 

First Doctor. — Girl. 

Gerald. — Boy. 

First Doctor. — Flower. 

Gerald. — Beautiful. 

First Doctor. — Sane. 

Gerald. — Insane. 

First Doctor. — ^Laugh. . . . Faster. 

Gerald. — Cry. 

First Doctor. — Hope. 



403 



BEST BROADCASTS OF 1938-39 



Gerald. — F ear. 

First Doctor. — F aster. . . . Sleep. 

Gerald. — D ream. 

Music. — Up over above to wipe out Jade. 

Doctor Sampson. — W hat makes you think these friends have 
tried to poison you ? Answer me. 

Gerald. — {Apathetic) I’m trying to. I ... I can’t think. They 
just are. 

Second Doctor. — H ow long have you had this idea ? Where did 
it come from? 

Gerald. — D on’t know. Leave me alone. I’m tired. 

Second Doctor. — Y ou’ve got to answer. And these depressions 
. . . how often do you have them ? 

Gerald. — L eave me alone. Leave me alone. 

Music . — Up to cover. 

Gerald. — {Eager . . . excited) No one understands, that’s all. 
But you do, don’t you. Doctor? Those times when I’m 
depressed . . . well, everybody’s like that sometimes. You 
know that. Doctor. You know that, don’t you? 

Second Doctor. — B ut times Uke now it’s different. Is that it ? 

Gerald. — N ow I’m myself. And I’m a genius when I feel myself. 
You can tell that. You’re a great doctor. I am. I can make 
money faster than any man in this country. And not only 
that. . . . It’s what I’m going to do with it. Listen to me, 
doctor. You’ll imderstand . . . I . . . 

Music. — Up to cover . . . this quickly now as whole montage 
picks up tempo. 

First Doctor. — D eep. 

Gerald. — S hallow. 

First Doctor. — S low. 

Gerald. — S lower . . . er fast. 

First Doctor. — R unning. 

404 



EXPERT OPINION 



Gerald. — P ainting ... I mean walking. {Music up briefly . . . 
then down) No . . . don’t ask me now. Just let me be. Why 
can’t you leave me alone? {Music up .. . fade) Of course 
{up) I’ll tell you. You want to know about me. I’m Gerald 
Conway. . . . I’m the Gerald Conway! Of course I’ll tell 
you. I’m Gerald Conway. . . . 

Music . — Up full to cover in crescendo . . . the whole perspective 
of this court scene is as though the mike were at the counsel 
table where Gerald and Thomas are seated. Other proceedings 
are hears from relative distances. 

Sound. — Gavel. 

Judge. — {Off) The court will be in order. You may continue the 
cross-examination, Mr. Thomas. 

Thomas. — T hank you, Your Honor. . . . Dr. Sampson . . . 
during the course of this trial you have heard the testimony 
of the other alienists who examined my client. Alienists for 
both defense and prosecution 1 

Sampson. — I have. 

Thomas . — They testified that my client was definitely a manic 
depressive, did they not ? 

Sampson. — Y es. 

Thomas. — B ut you have as yet made no definite statement as to 
your opinion. Now . . . would you . . . speaking as a 
recognized expert, swear that the defendant, Gerald Conway, 
is sane ? 

Sampson. — I wouldn’t swear that my own mother is sane. 

Sound . — Laughter in court . . . gavel. 

Thomas. — P lease answer my question. 

Sampson. — I wouldn’t swear that he is sane. . . . No ... I 
agree with the others. Conway’s reactions are typical of 
those of a manic-depressive psychote. 

Thomas. — T hat’s all. 

I 

Prosecutor. — N o more questions. 

Judge. — N ext witness. 

Prosecutor. — I’ ll call Miss Evel5m Spear. 



405 






BEST BROADCASTS OF 1938-39 

Clerk. — R aise your right hand. Do you solemnly swear the 
testimony you are about to give to be the truth ? The whole 
truth, so help you God ? 

Evelyn. — I do. 

Clerk. — T ake the stand. 

Prosecutor. — Y our name and occupation. 

Evelyn. — {Low . . . tense) I’m Evelyn Spear. For the past 
4 years I have been private secretary to Gerald Conway. 

Prosecutor. — A nd naturally ... in the course of business 
seen a great deal of the defendant ? 

Evelyn. — {Very low) I have. 

Juror. — {Off . . . elderly) We can’t hear in the jury box. 

Evelyn. — {Louder) I have. 

Prosecutor. — D uring that 4 years, Miss Spear, have you seen 
any action on the part of the defendant which would lead 
you to believe he was insane ? 

Evelyn. — (Letting go) No. Of course I haven’t! And he’s not 
insane. Oh, don’t you all see the thing he’s done ? He’s played 
a part . . . for this court and for the doctors who examined 
him. You don’t know Gerald Conway, any of you. He can 
make anyone believe anything he wants. Of course he’s not 
insane! He’s lying now just as he’s lied about everything 
he’s ever done. You’ve got to find him sane and then convict 
him! You’ve got to, do you hear!! 

Sound. — Ad lib in courtroom . . . gavel. 

Thomas. — Y our Honor. I move the statement of Miss Spear be 
stricken. . . . Conclusion of the witness irrelevant, imma- 
terial, and . . . 

Judge. — M otion granted. Let it be stricken. 

Prosecutor. — M iss Spear . . . please just answer this by 
“Yes” or “No.” Did you ever see in Mr. Conway any signs 
of what appeared to you as insanity ? 

Evelyn. — N o. 

Prosecutor. — Y our witness. 

406 



EXPERT OPINION 



Thomas. — N ow, Miss Spear. 

Gerald. — {Low) Thomas. 

Thomas. — {Low) Yes? 

Gerald. — J ust ask her two questions. If she was ever in love 
with me . . . and what I told her when she admitted it. 
Nothing more. 

Thomas. — B ut . . . 

Gerald. — D o as I say! 

Thomas. — A ll right. {Full voice . . . approaching stand) Miss 
Spear . . . are you or were you ever in love with the 
defendant? {Pause) 

Evelyn. — I refuse to answer that question. 

Thomas. — C ould you tell us, then, just what the defendant said 
when you confessed yoiu love for him ? 

Sound. — Murmur in court. 

Prosecutor. — I object. Improper cross-examination. Leading 
the witness. Assuming a fact not in evidence. 

Thomas. — {Smiling) I’ll withdraw the question. That’s all. 

Sound. — Murmur in court ad lib. 

Judge. — H ave you further witnesses, Mr. Prosecutor? 

Prosecutor. — N o, Your Honor. . . . That concludes the case 
for the . . . {Breaks off as) 

Voice. — {Off) Mac . . . wait a minute. . . . 

Prosecutor. — J ust a moment if the court please. Yes, Joe? 

Sound. — A moment's whispered conversation. 

Prosecutor. — Y our Honor. I have just been informed that 
Doctor Kurt Altman, one of the world’s leading specialists 
in criminal psychology, has arrived in the city. The state 
asks an adjournment of this trial while the defendant is 
examined by Dr. Altman. 

Sound. — Ad lib in court. 



407 



BEST BROADCASTS OF 1938-39 



Thomas. — And I protest, Your Honor! We’ve had experts here 
already. Plenty of them. And all of them have agreed that 



Gerald. — (Low) Thomas. Don’t argue. Let him examine me. 

Thomas. — (Low) But you can’t. Why take a chance? Altman’s 
that fellow from Vienna. He’ll see through you in 5 minutes. 

Gerald. — (Smilingly) Really? I don’t think so! Tell the coxirt 
that we agree. (Slight pause) 

Thomas. — (Reluctantly) Your Honor . . . the defense agrees to 
examination by Dr. Altman. 

Music. — Transition. 

Gerald . — (Very disconsolate . . . self-pitying) But you don’t 
understand, Dr. Altman. I . . . 

Altman . — (Kindly . . . elderly . . . slight Viennese accent) Yah 
... I know you feel unhappy . . . but still you must 
talk to me. Old Altman can help you, maybe. In Europe 
he has helped many who were depressed like you are now. 

Gerald. — T here’s no one can help me. I have no friends, only 
enemies. 

Altman. — A h . . . too bad. You feel like this often. . . . Yah. 
You sometimes think life is not worth living, maybe? 

Gerald . — (Almost wonderingly) How did you know that ? 

Altman. — I know many things. I am sorry for you, my son. 

Gerald. — O h, doctor, you don’t know what it’s like. (He's almost 
crying With everyone against you. Alone and afraid, I 
never told the others this. But I am afraid. You won’t 
let them hiut me, will you ? You’ll make them leave me 
alone. Please . . . doctor, please. 

Altman. — Y ah . . . my son . . . yah. I think we talk enough 
for today. (Door opens) Guard . . . you will take him back. 

Guard. — Y es, doctor. 

Altman. — (Low) Oh . . . and guard. Watch him carefully. In 
such a case hke this there should soon be a definite change 
of attitude. He will become elated . . . confident . . . 
and very talkative. When that has happened he must be 
brought to me again. At once. 

408 



EXPERT OPINION 



Guard. — Y es, doctor. Come along, Conway. 

Sound . — Door closes . . . phone lifted . . . one number dialed. 

Altman. — S tevens? . . . Altman speaking. . . . Yes ... I 
have just sent him back. A peculiar case, Stevens. I need 
your help. ... I want you to get for me all the records of 
this trial. And . . . the books of the company. . . . Don’t 
ask me why. . . . Just get them. I told you this was a 
very peculiar case. {Hangs up) 

Music. — Transition. 

Guard. — A nd it’s like you said the other day, doctor. Conway 
did change just overnight. He thinks he owns the joint this 
morning. 

Altman. — G ood, good. . . . Send him in here. And leave us 
alone. 

Guard. — {Fading) Yes, sir. 

Sound . — Door opens. 

Guard. — A ll right, Conway. In here. 

Gerald. — {He’s really high this time) Thank you, thank you, 
guard. 

Sound . — Door closes. 

Gerald. — D octor Altman! You see, I remembered. Doctor 
Altman . . . you’re from Vienna, aren’t you ? 

Altman. — Y ah. I . . . 

Gerald. — {Heedless) I’m sorry about the other day. I remember I 
was upset in a way. Just down . . . the blues, that’s all it 
is. Everybody gets them once in a while. Didn’t mean a 
thing. In fact, I . . . 

Altman . — {Quietly but firmly stopping him) Mister Conway! 
I want to talk to you. Please sit down here. 

Gerald . — {Anxious to keep going) Of course . . . I’m glad to 
talk to you. It isn’t very often that I meet a person on my 
own level of intelligence ... You see, being a genius, 
I naturally . . . 

Altman . — {In his same quiet, insistent tone) I’ll draw the curtain. 
So! 



409 



BEST BROADCAST S OF 1938-39 

Sound. — Drawing curtains. 

Gerald. — {Laughingly, protestingly) But it’s too bad to shut out 
the daylight. It’s a glorious day outside. You know that, 
don’t you. . . . 

Altman. — We will have music. The phonograph. 

Sound. — Phonograph starts. 

Gerald. — Yes! Yes, do! I like music. I compose it sometimes. 
Melodies of . . . {He breaks off as he recognizes melody. 
Over above record orchestra has begun to play “Conway’s 
Theme,” which we have heard in his office) That music . . . 
{forgetting his act just for a moment) How did you know ? 

Altman. — I told you before that I know many things, my son. 
{Slight pause) Now. Now that you feel better today, tell 
me about yotuself. 

Gerald. — That music. Do you know what it is ? It’s the theme 
song of my victory. It always has been. I heard it first 
when I was just a child. I’d licked another boy in a fight 
. . . and as I was going home I heard that melody. 

Altman. — You have said that you are a genius. How do you 
know? 

Gerald. — The things I do. Money. I’ve always had it. More than 
I could spend. I even dream about money. Do you know 
that ? 

Altman. — You dream about it? Yah! Tell me. That sounds 
interesting. 

Gerald. — Why, I dreamed once that I owned all the money in 
the world, and I was scattering it broadside to the poor. 

Altman. — {In a sudden, startling change of tone and manner) So ! 

Sound. — Record stops. 

Altman. — So . . . now it is out ! 

Gerald. — {Astonished) Doctor Altman. Don’t you want me 

to . . . 

Altman. — I want you to stop pretending . . . acting that you 
are insane. 

Gerald. — Acting . . . ? 

410 



EXPERT OPINION 



Altman. — {Rapid) Yes, my friend. From the first I am suspicious. 
Your reactions are those of a manic depressive. Yes. But 
they are too quick . . . too positive. But now I am sure. 
{Slight pause) Your dream ... “I own all the money in 
the world and scatter it broadside to the poor.” In the 
future, remember this, my friend. When you quote the actual 
words from a book . . . remember who was its author. 

Gerald. — {Slight pause) You wrote that book. 

Altman. — I did. 

Gerald. — {His old smile again) Well, this rather complicates 
the matter. You see. Doctor Altman, I am determined not 
to go to the penitentiary. 

Altman. — You prefer an asylum? I can understand it. {Pause) 
Well . . . 

Gerald. — How much. Doctor ? 

Altman. — How much ? 

Gerald. — For you to forget the last 5 minutes and report to 
the court. . . . 

Altman. — That you are insane? Hmm. How much would you 
say it was worth ? 

Gerald. — Fifty thousand. 

Altman. — {Smiling) So little from the man who has dreamed of 
owning all the money in the world ? 

Gerald. — A hvmdred. 

Altman. — No. Two himdred thousand. (As Gerald starts to 
object) And you can pay it. You see I have seen the books of 
your company. 

Gerald. — You win. One hour after you swear that I am insane 
in that courtroom, the money will be delivered to you 
wherever you say. Is it agreed ? 

Altman. — Let us just say, “I shall think it over.” 

Music. — Transition. 

{Fade in on courtroom) 



BEST BROADCASTS OF 1938-39 






Clerk. — . . . solemnly swear that the testimony you are 
about to give in this courtroom shall be the truth, the whole 
truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God? 

Altman. — I do. 

Prosecutor. — Your name, occupation? 

Altman. — Dr. Kiirt Altman. I am a psychiatrist. 

Prosecutor. — Inasmuch as defense has already stiptilated as 
to yoiu* qualifications as an expert . . . will you tell us the 
findings of your examination of the defendant ? 

Altman. — Yes. 

Prosecutor. — Dr. Altman, is the defendant, Gerald Conway, 
sane or insane ? 

Altman. — There is not the slightest doubt upon that point. 
Gerald Conway is . . . insane. 

Music. — Quick wipe-out transition. 

Sound. — Footsteps along corridor . . . footsteps stop . . . key in 
. . . door opens. 

Guard. — He’s in here. Go right on in. Doc. I’ll wait outside. 

Altman. — Thank you. 

Sound. — Door closes. 

Gerald. — (Smiling) Hello, Doctor Altman. 

Altman. — Well, my son? 

Gerald. — I asked them to let me see you before they took me 
away tomorrow. Wanted to check up. The money was 
delivered ? 

Altman. — Yes, and in the correct amount. 

Gerald. — (Smilingly) I doubt that psychiatry has ever been so 
profitable before. Doctor. 

Altman. — I do not know. You see ... I did not have that 
money very long. I have already transferred it to the 
referee in bankruptcy of your company. Your investors 
will get back at least a portion of their money. 



412 



EXPERT OPINION 



Gerald. — B ut that doesn’t make sense, Doctor. If you weren’t 
going to keep the money . . . why did you lie on the witness 
stand ? 

Altman. — W hy did I lie? You wonder about that? 

Gerald. — Y es. 

Altman. — M y dear young man . . . the testimony that I gave 
in court was under oath. I did not lie. {Slight pause) You 
are insane ! 

Music . — Sharp minor chord . . . low . . . sustaining into 

Gerald . — {Pause . . . then, to make himself believe it) You’re 
. . . joking. {He laughs) 

Altman. — I do not joke about such things. There are other 
types of insanity besides the one you feigned. On some of 
them an expert is never fooled. You are insane. 

Music . — Another chord . . . slightly higher in key. 

Gerald . — {yVith rising fear) You’re lying to frighten me. You’re 
lying and trying to frighten me! I know! I know! 

Altman . — {Never raising his voice) I did not lie. . . . You are 
insane. 

Music . — Another chord. 

Gerald. — S top saying that ! Stop saying that. It’s wrong ! Wrong ! 
do you hear? I planned all this. You’ve just been taken in 
like all the rest ! 

Altman. — I was not taken in. The very way in which you planned 
it was part of what convinced me. You are insane. 

Music . — Another chord . . . higher . . . menacing . . . mani- 
acal. 

Gerald . — {With rising hysteria) I’m not insane. I’m not insane. 
You’re going to tell me that I’m not. 

Altman. — I ncurably and hopelessly . . . insane. 

Music . — Another chord. 

Gerald. — {Wildly) Stop it! Stop it! {Slight pause . . . then he 
has changed ... he is low, tense . , . almost fiendish) 
You’re going to stop it . . . or I’ll kill you! {Almost scream- 
ing) I’ll kill you, do you hear! I’ll . . . 



413 



BEST BROADCASTS OF 1938-39 



Sound . — Blow . . . body fall. 

Music . — Up in crescendo . . . out suddenly. 

Gerald . — {Moans hysterically . . . slightly off) 

Sound . — Door opens quickly slightly off. 

Guard . — {Rushing in) Doctor . . . are you all right ? 

Altman. — Y es, but I suggest you bring a strait jacket for that 
poor fellow on the floor. 

Guard. — Y eah. fWonderingly) He’s really pretty far gone, ain’t 
he? 

Altman . — {Quietly smiling Pretty far. You know, did you ever 
wonder at the eternal justice of such things ? I have. 

Music. — Curtain. 

Nagel. — Y ou have just heard Robert Montgomery in “Expert 
Opinion.’’ In a moment we’ll tell you about next week’s 
show, but right now we think you’ll be interested in hearing 
from a yoimg man with a brief but special word for you, 
the hostess. . . . All right, John Conte. 

Conte. — M any of you women have probably said to yourselves 
time and again as you set the table for dinner, “I’m begin- 
ning to be ashamed of this silver. One of these fine days I’m 
going to buy some really good silverware instead.” And you 
meant to keep that promise . . . but what with this and 
that and the other necessity constantly cropping up, you’ve 
felt you couldn’t afford to buy new silverware! . . . Well, 
may I say that now is a very excellent time to fulfill your 
promise? Because now you can get the most famous silver 
plate in America . . . 1847 Rogers Brothers silver plate 
... at substantial savings! A service for 8 ... 62 
pieces of gleaming silver plate, beautifully wrought in 
1847 Rogers Brothers “Lovelace” pattern . . . can now 
be yours at a saving of more than $14 over open stock 
price! And believe me, “Lovelace” is one of the finest crea- 
tions of this distinguished house! A pierced pattern with 
sterlinglike detail . . . and ornament exquisite as old lace 
. . . “ Lovelace ” is a design of radiant loveliness executed in 
lifetime plate! See it tomorrow . . . Monday . . . wherever 
fine silverware is sold . . . and learn upon what easy, 
convenient terms you can own silver plate from the proudest 



414 



EXPERT OPINION 



house in America . . . silver plate that bears the design 
prestige of America’s first great craftsmen . . . 1847 Rogers 
Brothers ! 

Music. — Theme sneak in and tag. 

Conte. — And now back to Conrad Nagel. 

Nagel. — Ladies and gentlemen . . . next Sunday Robert Mont- 
gomery does a dramatic turnabout to play the starring role 
in a gay comedy drama. Be sure to listen. In the meantime, 
if you want solid silver, you want International sterling . . . 
if you want silver plate, you want 1847 Rogers Brothers, 
both proudly created by International Silver Company. . . . 
“Expert Opinion’’ was written for Silver Theatre by True 
Boardman. Original music heard on this program was com- 
posed and conducted by Fehx Mills. 

Music. — Theme if needed. 

Conte. — All names and designations of persons and of business 
organizations used in the course of this broadcast are entirely 
fictitious, and no actual business organization and no living 
person is thereby actually referred to or designated. Silver 
Theatre originates at Columbia Square in Hollywood. John 
Conte speaking. This is the Columbia Broadcasting System. 

Music. — Theme to fill. 



4^5 



BEST INTERMISSION TALK 

by Deems Taylor 



Philharmonic Symphony 
Society of New York 

JLBJUULOJUULlLOJLOJLOJLOJLOJULSlAiUL^ 

T he intermission talk has become an accepted radio 
feature in many of the regular series of symphonic 
broadcasts, and eight or nine of America’s best-known 
music men have been heard during the winter seasons as 
commentators or critics. The past few years have seen a 
shift from the formalism and austerity that characterized 
so many of these talks when they first began. Pedagogical 
stiffness, mechanical vocabulary, emphasis on the archi- 
tecture of music . . . these have yielded to a more natural 
discourse and a more informal and friendly style. 

This change has had a tremendous influence upon the 
public in increasing the size of audiences that have learned 
to enjoy fine music. Adherence to the strict form of speech 
familiar to listeners in the early 1930’s did not make a great 
deal of sense in broadcasting for the reason that the 
musically informed knew the subject matter generally, 
and the musically uninformed did not want to hear about 
it; they just wanted to hear the music. 

For four years Mr. Deems Taylor has been heard on the 
Sunday afternoon Philharmonic Symphony programs as 
intermission commentator, and in that time he has (with 
the possible exception of Walter Damrosch) created more 
friends of music than any other individual in America 
today. His talks are simple, amusing, direct, and personal. 
All of them are spattered with his own opinions, and his 
opinions are as various as they are attractive. He is in- 
capable of anything stuffy, and it is so evident that he is 
having a good time listening to music and a good time 
talking about it that many who had previously lived on the 
border line of true appreciation have been waylaid and 

4.16 



PHILHARMONIC SY MPHONY SOCIETY 



captured by this cheerful incognito crusader. He brings 
them everything to enjoy, much to understand, nothing 
to fear. 

Deems Taylor’s natural equipment for the type of com- 
mentary he does springs from the many unusual resources 
that make up the man himself. He is among the best of 
contemporary composers; he was for many years (on the 
old New York World) one of America’s most penetrating 
music critics; he was the editor of Musical America for two 
years; he has been a foreign correspondent, a translator, a 
cabinetmaker, a vaudeville performer, a pianist, and a poet. 
The variety of his activities— and he has excelled in them 
all — not only marks him as one of this generation’s examples 
of true versatility — but has had much to do with bringing 
to his work that flavor of agreeable cosmopolitanism that 
makes him understandable and acceptable to all. 

He loves music, but he burns no joss sticks; he under- 
stands music but never pokes at it with the long rod of in- 
struction; and he interprets it, but never by reference to 
thematic blueprints. He sees musicians as a specialized 
genus of fun makers. They delight him, but they don’t 
bedazzle him, and he is as completely at home with Tele- 
mann as he is with Joe Venuti. 

Such instinctive comprehension brings to Mr. Taylor’s 
speech and writing a natural candor and spontaneity un- 
equaled among present-day commentators. His frame of 
reference is so vast that one automatically accepts the 
thoroughness of his knowledge; his selection of reference 
is so discriminating that one accepts also the sincerity of 
his appraisals. Without any of the pinguid pomposity of 
the self-important critic, without any of the genuflection 
of the sentimentalist, his expressions and opinions tumble 
out of him with a youthful enthusiasm that proves his 
enjoyment in what he is doing and invites others to share 
in it. He can write the felicitous sentence with an almost 
Anacreontic grace and follow it with another that embalms 
some passing nonsense. But he never offends, because he is 
everywhere good-natured. 

A few months before these pages were written, the New 
York press gave an enormous amount of publicity to the 



417 



BEST BROADCAST S OF 1938-J9 

amusing fight then waging between the classicists and the 
musical roughnecks over the latter’s right to “swing” 
Bach. The classicists claimed it was a slander and a shame 
and an outrage. The “cats” claimed it was nobody’s 
business but their own and that they would swing Bach or 
anybody else who had written anything worth swinging. 
Most commentators would have ignored the issue, espe- 
cially if they had happened to be identified with a program 
as dignified as the Philharmonic. But Deems Taylor con- 
sidered the controversy to have both interest and sig- 
nificance, and his statement is one of the most sensible 
summaries of musical fad and fashion ever heard on the air. 
The talk was given on Sunday afternoon, December 
II, 1938. 



418 



Best Intermission Talk* 



-OQOQOQOOOOQQOQQQQOQQQQ QQOg OOOOag flflfl O B £ fl ^LflJLflJLBJLg. 

Mr. Deems Taylor. — Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. 
The suite by Johann Sebastian Bach that opened today’s 
program reminded me of an incident that occurred not 
long ago, that came in for a good deal of newspaper comment 
here in the East. I don’t know how far West the accounts 
of it went. Not very far, I imagine, as it was purely a local 
flurry. Assuming that a good many of you haven’t heard 
of it, I thought it might amuse you to tell you about it. 
Briefly, then, the president of the Bach Society of New 
Jersey sent a letter to the Federal Communications Com- 
mission, complaining of the practice of playing the music 
of the classic masters, particularly Bach, in swing time. He 
said, specifically, that on two recent occasions he had heard 
a jazz orchestra giving its own rendition of Bach’s Toccata 
in D minor. “All the beautiful fugue effects,” he wrote, 
“were destroyed by the savage slurring of the saxophone 
and the jungled discords of the clarinet.” What started the 
discussion was his proposed remedy, which was — I quote 
from his letter — “that any station that violates the canon 
of decency by permitting the syncopating of the classics, 
particularly Bach’s music, be penalized by having its license 
suspended for the first offense. A second offense could be 
punished by revocation of the license.” 

Now, I hadn’t intended to discuss the incident at all, as it 
didn’t seem very important. It still doesn’t. But I’ve had a 
surprising quantity of mail from correspondents who have 
opinions about it, pro and con, and seem to think that I 
ought to have some. So, having a few, I suppose I might 
as well air them. 

In the first place, of course, the proposed remedy for the 
offense seems to be a little out of proportion to the enormity 
of the crime. If you’re going to suspend the license of a 
broadcasting station for permitting Bach to be played in 
swing time, what are you going to do to a station for per- 
mitting swing music to be played at all? You might offer 
the owner of the station his choice of either listening to 
• Copyright, 1939, by Deems Taylor. 



419 



BEST BROADCAST S OF 1938-39 



nothing hut swing for, say, twelve hours, or a month in jail. 
No; you can’t legislate against bad taste. The minute you 
start regulating people’s likes and dislikes in music or books 
or whatnot, you’re confronted by the question of who is to 
decide what is good and what is bad. And you soon discover 
that there’s no Emily Post of the arts. 

In the second place. I’m not so sure that Bach himself would 
fall on the floor in a fit if he heard a swing version of his 
Toccata in D minor. If there’s one thing I’m pretty 
sure of, it is that the so-called classic masters were not 
aware that they were classic masters. As Gilbert Seldes 
once wrote, “The Japanese are not Oriental to themselves.’’ 
The casual way in which Bach and Handel and Haydn 
and Mozart turned out suites and fugues and symphonies 
seems to me to indicate that they didn’t take themselves 
with quite the deadly seriousness with which some of us 
take them. They wrote good music, and I think they knew 
it. But I don’t for a minute think that they looked upon 
every note that they composed as a direct message from 
Heaven, never to be touched or altered. Take the structure 
of the suite that you heard today. Of what does it consist? 
First, an overture, in the style that a then ultramodern 
French-Italian composer named Lulli had made popular. 
Next an air. This particular one happens to be one of the 
greatest melodies ever written. But it happened to be 
written because, in the suite of Bach’s time, a slow melody 
was usually the second nmnber. Then follow two gavottes, 
a bourree, and a gigue — or, if you want to spell it in modem 
English, a jig. Now, much as I hate to point it out, those 
last four pieces were equivalent, in Bach’s era, to swing 
music. They were popular dances of the day. They may 
sound very slow and dignified to us, but the fact remains 
that when Bach wrote them he was thinking, not in terms 
of immortal music, but in terms of dance tunes. If there 
had been such a thing as a rtunba or a tango when Bach 
was living, you may be sure that a Bach suite would have 
included a rumba and a tango. 

I wonder if the so-called jitterbugs, to whom swing music 
comes as an utterly new and stimning discovery, realize 
just how old it is. As the result of considerable philological 
research, I find that one must draw a sharp line between 
jazz and swing. Jazz, as it is known today, is a term that 
is applied indiscriminately to almost every form of popular 



420 



BEST INTERMISSION TALK 



vocal and dance music except, possibly, the waltz. Swing 
music, on the other hand, is music that doesn’t exist in 
any permanent form whatsoever. When they speak of a 
trumpeter or a clarinetist “swinging” a tune, they mean 
that he undertakes to execute a series of impromptu varia- 
tions on a given air. These variations are never written 
down and are never twice alike, and the players who invent 
them are very scornful of what they call “paper men,” 
that is, players who perform from written or printed notes. 
Well, that practice, of course, is as old as the hills. In the 
Neapolitan school of opera, about the middle of the eight- 
eenth century, it was accepted as a matter of course that 
opera singers should make up their own trills and orna- 
mental passages and cadenzas as they went along. In 
eighteenth centiuy concertos for piano and violin, the 
cadenzas were seldom written out. Usually the composer 
simply came to a stop at some point in the work, wrote 
“cadenza” in the score, and tacitly invited the player to 
make up his own cadenza, based on the main theme — in 
other words, to “swing” it. 

Even great composers and virtuosi Like Mozart and Beeth- 
oven did it as a matter of routine. In the closing years of the 
eighteenth century, Beethoven’s great rival as a pianist 
was a virtuoso named Woelffl — W-o-e-l-f-f-1. The two used 
to meet at soirees given at the castle of Baron Raymond 
von Wetzlar. Let me quote you a line or two from Thayer’s 
monumental biography of Beethoven, as to what used to 
go on. 

“There,” writes Thayer, “the interesting combats of the 
two athletes not infrequently offered an indescribable 
artistic treat to the numerous and thoroughly select gather- 
ing. . . . Now one, and anon the other, gave free rein 
to his glowing fancy; sometimes they would seat them- 
selves at two great pianos and improvise alternately on 
themes which they gave each other, and thus created many 
a four-hand capriccio which, if it cordd have been put upon 
paper at the moment, would surely have bidden defiance 
to time.” In other words, Beethoven and Woelffl sat down 
and had what, at the Onyx Club in New York, would be 
called a jam session. 

Don’t misunderstand me. I’m not saying that it’s a laudable 
thing to play swing versions of the classics or that anyone 
ought to try not to be revolted by hearing a piece of fa mi liar 



421 



BEST BROAD CAST S OF 1938-39 

and beautiful music distorted. But the distortion itself, 
while it may be a nuisance, is hardly a crime. 

Besides, if you’re going to be completely consistent about 
this question of altering a composer’s original work, where 
are you going to stop? After all, a so-called “swing” version 
of a piece of music is merely a debased form of a set of 
variations. And if it’s wrong for a jazz band arranger to 
write his particular variations on a theme by Bach, why 
is it right for Brahms to write his partictdar variations 
on a theme by Haydn? Now there’s a very obvious answer 
to that, of course, which is that the Brahms variations 
are great music and the jazz band’s variations are trash. 
But while you and I may believe that, we can’t prove it. 
We can only say, in the last analysis, “That’s what I 
think.” Most people would agree that we were right in an 
extreme case such as I have chosen. But cases are not always 
extreme. There is, for instance, a swing version of a Bach 
prelude and fugue that Paul Whiteman frequently plays, 
called “Thank You, Mr. Bach.” To me, it’s a delightful 
and witty piece of music and does Bach no harm. As a 
matter of fact, I’m sure that Bach would have been en- 
chanted with it. But I’ve no doubt that a vast number of 
persons whose opinions are just as good as mine would 
find that particular piece a horrible desecration. 

Do you know, I’m afraid I think it’s a good thing that we do 
hear so much cheap humor and bad sentiment and bad 
music on the radio. Mind you, I think it would be an even 
better thing if we heard nothing but good stuff on the radio — 
if everybody wanted to hear it. But as long as there are 
people who want to hear bad stuff, they should be allowed 
to listen to it if it isn’t obscene or criminal. Because if they’re 
not allowed, they won’t Hsten to anything else. Now I 
know that in some other countries, broadcasting is in the 
hands of certain persons who are so confident of the in- 
fallibility of their own taste that they undertake to decide 
what is or is not good for the public to hear on the radio. 
They allow the public to hear only such music as is, in their 
opinion, “good” music. It’s my guess that large portions 
of the population simply turn their radios off when some of 
that “good” music is being played. It’s one thing to offer 
a listener something, and it’s another thing to get him to 
listen. So long as his receiving set is working, no matter 
how low his tastes are, you always have the chance of luring 
him into hearing and learning to like something better 



422 



! 



BEST INTERMISSION TALK 

than what he thought he liked; in other words, of elevating 
his taste. But you can’t elevate a man’s taste through a 
dead radio. 

I believe in letting people hear these swing monstrosities 
because I believe that it’s the best method of getting rid 
of them. Occasionally, out of morbid curiosity, I, in common 
with the president of the Bach Society of New Jersey, 
have listened to some of those arrangements; and what 
strikes me about them is their spectacular dullness. There’s 
one in particular that you’ve probably heard — the one 
that goes, “Martha, Martha, diun-de-dum-dtun” — you 
know the one. Well, you don’t have to know that "that’s a 
distortion of “M’appari,” from Flotow’s “Marta,’’ to 
know that it’s bad. The most harm it can accomplish is 
to give a few innocent people the impression that “M’ap- 
pari’’ is equally dull; but that impression will last only 
until they hear the real “M’appari.’’ Meanwhile, the swing 
aiTangement will long have been one with Nineveh and 
Tyre. 

A great deal of this hatred and denunciation of swing 
arrangements rises. I’m sure, from a fear that they will do 
lasting damage to the music upon which they are based. 
I don’t think there are any grounds for that fear. A real 
work of art is a good deal tougher than we assmne that 
it is. Great music, like great painting and sculpture and 
literatxrre, can stand an incredible amoimt of mauling. 
In fact, I’d go so far as to venture the opinion that one 
test of the greatness and vitality of a work of art is whether 
or not it can stand being burlesqued. One of the big musical 
comedy hits in New York at the moment is the new Rodgers 
and Hart show, “The Boys from Syracuse.” That, in case 
you happen not to know it, is nothing more or less than 
Shakespeare’s “The Comedy of Errors,” adopted for the 
musical stage. And the title will give you a pretty clear idea of 
just how respectful that adaptation is. Yet nobody, up to 
now, has claimed or will claim, I think, that “The Boys 
from Syracuse” is ruining Shakespeare. 

The same is true of music. You can’t spoil anything really 
great. If you could, think of what the motion picttires have 
been doing to the music of the masters ever since the first 
silent films. In putting together scores for the pictures, 
the arrangers long ago discovered that Bach and Beethoven 
and Tchaikovsky and Wagner and the rest had written 
much more graphic and colorful and dramatic action music 



423 



BEST BROADCAST S OF 1938-39 



than they could hope to contrive. So they used their music 
without scruple — and still do — to go with any and all 
kinds of films. And what has happened to the masters? 
The answer is summed up very well, I think, in a letter 
from one of my correspondents, a college student. He writes: 
“What if Cab Calloway did, for a change, decide to arrange 
the B minor Mass as he arranges the Hi De Ho Miracle 
Man? Has any permanent or temporary harm come to 
Bach? I, for one, would hate to admit it. I am quite con- 
fident that the B minor Mass will last longer than Mr. 
Calloway. And so with the movies. What matter if they do 
use the second movement of the Beethoven Seventh and 
make “hurry music” out of it? How long is the life of a 
film? If Beethoven can’t stand such competition, 1’U take 
Hollywood. But I’m sure that will not be necessary. I, 
for one, will still climb to the top shelf of Carnegie Hall 
and feel lucky to have a seat.” 

Yes, but, as we all say, “It isn’t that I mind so much. I 
can hear that stuff without harm, because my taste in 
music is already formed. It can’t be corrupted. But think 
of the others. Think of the thousands of children whose 
taste is being ruined by that jazz stuff. Think of the thou- 
sands of men and women who are eager to hear music but 
don’t yet know the good from the bad. It’s the damage to 
their taste that worries me.” Well, as far as the children 
are concerned, if you don’t want your child to be corrupted 
by listening to jazz and swing arrangements, I might point 
out that the average parent is physically stronger than the 
average child; and whether or not he is to listen to any 
given program is partly your problem. As for the grownups, 
nine times out of ten, while you are busy worrying about 
what’s happening to somebody else’s taste, you would 
discover, if you could meet him, that he was engaged in 
worrying about what’s happening to your taste. So don’t 
waste too much energy worrying about other people or 
becoming indignant over cheap music. If your radio set 
insults your ears with a swing arrangement of Bach, don’t 
get red in the face and roar and write to the Times. Just 
exercise the right of individual censorship that is the glorious 
privilege of every American radio listener. In other words, 
just grasp that little knob marked “Station Selector,” 
and start turning it. And sooner or later, I guarantee you, 
you will discover that after all, that was not the only 
program your radio had to offer. 



424 



BEST SPOT NEWS REPORTING 



Squalus Disaster 

by Jack Knell 

!JLOJULOJLOJLOJLILIULiULiLflJUi-O-0JLtLOJULgJLfl^^ 

I NTENSE public interest in the Squalus disaster of May 23, 
1939, kept America’s radio transmitters open for over 
seventy hours without interruption. Every development, 
day or night, was broadcast as it happened, and the 
catastrophe accounted for a new American record in sus- 
tained short-wave communication. The physical problem 
involved was a considerable one, and the demands on the 
personnel were little short of inhuman. Two CBS engineers, 
for example, “marooned” in a launch and ignored by every 
power craft at the scene of the sinking, were obliged to go 
without water for over forty hours. It wasn’t much easier 
on the announcers. Because of the utter unpredictableness 
of the situation, they couldn’t afford to sleep nor even to 
cat-nap sitting up in their chairs at the Portsmouth sub- 
marine base. The “breaks” could not be foretold; they 
could only be waited for. 

Adverse conditions of this sort, maddening hours of 
uncertainty, and scenes of confusion, rush, and hysteria 
are, of course, not new to newspaper reporters. But few 
people realize that they are also not new to radio men — 
not any longer. A capacity to broadcast accurately and 
intelligibly in a circumstance of extreme nervous tension 
and suspense is requisite in any radio station news depart- 
ment, and most stations have men who can do this. All 
good sports announcers can do it. Bill Steam and Ted 
Husing particularly, and radio news reporters of the type of 
Hans Kaltenbom and Bob Trout could talk imperturbably 
through a deluge without muffing a single word. In fact, 
both of them have done it. 

The reporting of the climax of the Squalus tragedy did 
not, as it happened, fall to any of radio’s nationally known 



425 



BEST BROADCASTS OF 1938-39 

veterans but to a young man who had had practically no 
network experience at all. He had worked for four years at 
Boston’s independent outlet, WHDH, and for two more 
at WEEI, Columbia’s most powerfiil New England trans- 
mitter. He was essentially a local station man. 

At the moment when the diving bell was being reeled 
to the surface, Jack Knell was bobbing about in a thirty- 
foot cruiser as close to the Falcon as the Coast Guard would 
allow. He had had no sleep for sixty hours, but at the in- 
stant the “air” was thrown in his lap he accepted the 
assignment with the immediate response to the job that is 
the basic equipment of all ad lib reporters. 

What he said is not exciting in cold type. I find this 
unhappily true of many of the pieces in this book. It cannot 
be otherwise, for much of radio depends upon the moment 
or upon inflection or upon some other intangible that can- 
not be recorded on a page of print. 

The virtue of Mr. Knell’s report is, primarily, its clarity. 
It told the audience where he was, what was about to 
happen, and graphically and simply described the pro- 
cedure as it did happen. In his stark recital of the facts 
there is an almost photographic sharpness of truth. The 
episode was sufficiently colorful in itself, and Knell, realiz- 
ing this, made no effort to make it more so. He told radio 
listeners that the first survivors had been rescued, and this 
was what they wanted to hear. And he described the 
process vividly and quickly as the United States Navy 
executed it before him. 

His presence of mind, his control, and his accuracy in 
this spectacular emergency won for him the National Head- 
liner’s Club Award for the best radio reporting of a news 
event during 1938-39. As an editor and as one of the radio 
listeners lucky enough to catch the spot when it was on the 
air, I am happy to concur in the unanimous opinion of the 
journalists that it was the best thing of its sort during 
the past year. Here is what he said. 



426 



Squalus Disaster* 

)oooQQOQQPOQQQQQooaafl OQPooooooaaaaoooocoa a. a. a. a. a. a. st 

Jack Knell. — This is Jack Knell speaking to you through short- 
wave transmitter WAAU operating on 2,190 kilocycles. We 
are at the present time in a small boat, riding at anchor 
at a spot approximately 50 yards from the scene of rescue 
operations of the sunken submarine Squalus, 16 miles due 
north from the Portsmouth Navy Yard. We have seen and 
are seeing one of the most thrilling sights of our lives today. 
We are seeing history in the making. 

About I hour ago, that huge lo-ton diving bell disappeared 
from view as it sank to the bottom of the sea. We spent 
anxious minutes awaiting its return to the surface, and 
just a few moments ago, before we came on the air, that 
immense bell broke the strrface of the water. Its huge, 
pear-shaped bulk is now bobbing around in the water 
close to the side of the rescue ship. Falcon. The men aboard 
the Falcon are maneuvering the bell toward the stem of the 
ship by means of long poles. They seem to have it in the 
desired position now, and two men are astride the bell work- 
ing on the hatch cover in an attempt to unscrew the bolts 
which keep the cover tightly closed against the sea and the 
tremendous pressure down there, 250 feet below the siirface. 

One of the men is rising from his crouched position now, and 
the men aboard the rescue ship are leaning tensely over the 
side. ... I think they’re about to open the cover now . . . 
yes . . . the hatch cover of the diving bell is open! 
They’re reaching down inside the bell now . . . and. . . . 
There’s a man’s head. . . . They’re helping someone out 
of the bell now. . . . He’s climbing out of the bell under 
his own steam. . . . He’s stepping across the top of the 
bell and is boarding the Falcon. . . . The first survivor 
rescued from the simken submarine Squalus is out and 
safely aboard the rescue ship . . . and now here’s another 
man coming out of the bell. He’s being helped aboard the 
Falcon, although he seems to be able to make it without 

* Copyright, 1939, by the Columbia Broadcasting System, Inc. 

427 



BEST BROADCAST S OF 1938-39 

assistance . . . and here’s another . . . and another. . . . 
These men seem to be in remarkably good condition despite 
the tremendous strain they’ve been under. . . . Another 
man is out now, and they’re reaching inside to aid another. 
. . . We may have lost count during the excitement of 
seeing these men emerge from that bell alive and well, 
but I think that’s the sixth man to come out of the bell . . . 
and here . . . here’s the seventh. 

Seven men have come out of that big, white, pear-shaped 
diving bell. We don’t know if they have all been brought 
out of the sunken submarine or if some of them went down 
with the bell to control it. But there you are. . . . We’ve 
seen and have attempted to describe to you the actual 
rescue of the first seven survivors from the ill-fated sub- 
marine Squalus, which is lying at the bottom of the sea in 
approximately 250 feet of water. Undoubtedly the bell will 
immediately be sent down again in an attempt to bring up 
more of the men trapped down there, but it’s a long job, tak- 
ing at least an hour for the rotmd trip, so we’re going to 
sign off from this point for the time being, but we’ll be on 
hand to bring you the eye-witness account of the rescue 
as the bell comes up again. Keep tuned to this network 
for further developments. This is Jack Knell, speaking to 
you through short-wave transmitter WAAU, operating on 
2,190 kilocycles. . . . This is the Columbia Broadcasting 
System. 



428 



BEST OCCUPATIONAL SHOW 



Sandhogs 

From Americans at Work 
by Margaret Lewerth 

oooooQQQQQQQQQQQQQooao QOQOPOoooaaflOflgaaflaaaflflgfl 

A mericans at Work is a series of adult education pro- 
. grams presented by the Columbia Broadcasting Sys- 
tem and designed to give the radio audience a glimpse into 
the lives and the work of the men and women whose every- 
day jobs make up American life. The railroad engineer, the 
bus driver, the girl at the telephone switchboard, the police- 
man on the corner, the artist in the studio, the executive 
at his desk — in each job is a human story, and Americans 
at Work tells it. The program tells something, too, of the 
problems, the satisfaction, the dignity in every job — and a 
Httle of the tradition behind it. Through these half hour 
broadcasts, each devoted to one occupation, the program 
aims to give the radio listener a better knowledge of his 
country and a keener understanding of the men and women 
around him, a quicker sympathy with those who do 
America’s jobs. 

Since its start in April, 1938, Americans at Work has 
covered jobs in every walk of life. The series has presented 
such a diversity of occupations as those of the fireman, the 
dynamiter, the nurse, the submarine man, the tugboat 
captain, the secretary, the steel riveter, the glass blower, 
and others too numerous to mention. The program has 
taken the microphone down into coal mines, up in sky- 
scrapers, out with the ice patrol, into settlement houses — 
wherever there is a story of men and women at work. And 
in this hes the program’s distinguishing feature — and one 
of the reasons for its outstanding success. In each half hour 
broadcast the time is divided between an authentic studio 
dramatization of the particular job and its background — 



BEST BROADCAST S OF 1938-39 

and an actual on-the-scene interview with the workers. 
Such a program, of course, requires a great deal of advance 
work and research. A regular research staff supplies factual 
information, and the writer of the program makes a trip 
each week to talk with the workers on the job for true 
stories, color, and human interest. The script is written 
for the first part^of the broadcast, and an announcer and 
an engineering staff are sent to the mine or the factory for 
the first-hand interview in the second half. 

Americans at Work is unique among educational pro- 
grams on the air in giving not only a comprehensive 
dramatized picture of America’s many jobs but in present- 
ing a personal interview with the workers actually at the 
scene of those jobs. All of the broadcasts are published in 
pamphlet form by the Columbia University Press. 

Americans at Work has won two awards for its contribu- 
tion to adult education and for its general excellence — from 
the Women’s National Radio Committee and from the 
Tenth Institute for Radio in Education in its convention 
at Ohio State University in May, 1939. The program 
printed in the following pages is typical of a long series of 
successful broadcasts, in which dramatization, narration, 
and interview are combined to present an authentic picture 
of Americans at work. 

The following script is the story of the men who build 
tunnels — the sandhogs. It was written by Margaret 
Lewerth, CBS staff writer, who has been responsible for 
the whole series. 



430 



Sandhogs* 



SUUiSLSLSLSLSLSLSLSlJULSLSLSLSULSLSiSLJULSLSL^^ 

Sound . — Open with real factory whistle ... up .. . sustain 
. . . out ... no background for following. 

Narrator. — {Forcefully, yet simply) Across 3,000 miles of cities, 
plains, rivers, mountains, a nation goes to work ... a 
nation young and strong, turning its resources into power 
... a nation of men and women at their daily tasks . . . 
building, digging, harvesting, exploring, planning . . . 
making the world you and I live in . . . weaving the solid 
fabric of life today. 

Who are these builders of a nation ? Who are these men aloft 
on swinging girders ... in the cabs of giant locomotives 
... at desks covered with blueprints? Who are these 
women at humming switchboards, behind busy counters, in 
laboratories filled with test tubes? Who are these workers 
carrying on the nation’s business . . . proud of the skill that 
is their contribution to the vast web of American life? 
Tonight the Columbia Network brings you another in the 
series, Americans at Work, to take you into the lives and 
hearts of those millions of men and women who are making 
America. 

Sound . — Street noises . . . traffic . . . horns . . . background of 
voices. 

Jim. — A ll right, Helen . . . here comes our bus. 

Helen. — W ait a minute, Jim . . . that man there. . . . Look, 
he’s ill. 

Jim. — H e’s staggering blind. ... I think he’s . . . 

Helen . — {Cutting in) Oh, he’s fallen. . . . Look . . . how 
awful! 

Officer . — {Fading in) What’s the trouble here . . . what’s the 
trouble ? 

* Copyright, 1939, by the Columbia Broadcasting System, Inc. 

431 



BEST BROADCAST S OF 1938-39 

Jim. — T his man has just collapsed, officer. . . . He needs a 
doctor. 

Officer. — {Up) Stand back, everybody. . . . Stand back. Joe 
. . . call the ambulance. {In . . . lower. Man moans once 
faintly) all right. Buddy . . . take it easy. {To Jim) What 
happened ? 

Jim. — H e just staggered . . . and fell . . . right on the sidewalk. 

Officer. — {Skeptical) Staggered, eh? . . . Let’s open his coat. 
What? {Suddenly serious and excited) Hey, Joe . . . never 
mind the ambulance. . . . Get the emergency wagon . . . 
quick! 

Jim. — W hat is it, officer? 

Officer. — {Short) The bends ! 

Jim. — T he bends? 

Officer. — {Businesslike, very serious) Yeah . . . this guy’s a 
sandhog ... a tunnel worker. The tag on his vest here 
tells you to take him to the compression clinic instead 
of a hospital. I had one case like this before. They get this 
way from air pressure. {Low) O.K., buddy . . . we’ll get 
you straightened out. 

Jim. — T hat’s terrible. . . . What can they do for him ? 

Officer. — P ut him back in the air lock under pressure and 
revive him slowly. They get the bends when they come out 
of the air pressure too fast. ... It gives ’em nitrogen 
bubbles in the blood stream . . . and when they burst it 
cripples ’em or kills ’em. . . . 

Jim. — D o sandhogs have to wear these tags? 

Officer. — Y eah . . . otherwise we wouldn’t know . . . might 
put ’em in jail for being drunk or take ’em to a hospital. 
The air chamber is the only thing that fixes ’em. . . . 

Jim. — {Impressed) You mean . all timnel workers get the 
bends ? 

Officer. — N o . . . nowadays very few of ’em get it . . . but 
they all got a chance of getting it while they work in air 
pressure. {Siren, clanging bell coming in, speaking over it) 
There’s the wagon now . . . gimme a hand, will you ? 



432 



SA NDHOGS 



Jim. — S ure. . . . {Man groans once . . . faintly) O.K., Buddy 
. . . we’ll get you to the air lock. . . . 

{Fade noises and scene out complete) 

Narrator. — A ir pressure! Air pressure to keep the water out 
of a tunnel under construction. . . . Air pressure is only 
one of the many dangers in the lives of America’s tunnel 
makers . . . that courageous and determined body of men 
who spend every day in close, compact chambers far below 
the surface of the earth . . . wearing hip boots, fiber 
helmets, stripped to the waist because of heat and damp- 
ness . . . men in the prime of health, who can get no life 
insurance because of the dangers they face. They are the 
tunnel makers of America who make it possible for you to 
drive with comfort under cities and through mountains . . . 
to turn a tap and draw water. 

Announcer. — B ut let us turn back to America of a half century 
ago ... a different America . . . growing, pushing, wrest- 
ing new wealth from untouched resources ... an America 
where it took more than a week to travel by steam train 
from New York to San Francisco ... an America of gas 
lights and horse cars, where industry was crowding the 
East, and the West was still opening up its vast treasures. 
It is Milwaukee of 1891 ... a lusty, sprawling city in 
the heart of the wheat country ... a Milwaukee that 
needed water to run its mills ... to supply its fast-growing 
population. 

One day outside a shack on the shore of Lake Michigan a 
group of men in rough work clothes gathered. . . . 

Sound . — Crowd of voices up .. . calling . . . laughing . . . 
greeting . . . talking ... ad libs off. 

First. — H ullo, Pete . . . glad to see you. 

Second. — S o we’re doing a water job, eh ? 

Third. — S o I tells him I’m a sandhog, see. 

Voice. — H ey, fellas . . . here comes Tom, the foreman! 

Sound . — In greetings . . . “Hello, Tom . . . Hello, boss,” etc. 

Foreman. — W ell, boys . . . I’m certainly glad to see so many 
of the old bunch here. We got a tough job on our hands. 
{Voices in assent) The toughest we ever tackled. We got to 



433 



BEST BROAD CAST S OF 1938-39 



bixild this water tunnel under Lake Michigan. . . . That 
means compressed air . . . and it means you guys will 
have to watch your step . . . and take enough time in the 
air locks. ... You know what the bends can do. . . . 

Sound. — Voices in assent. 

Voice. — We’re going through sand, ain’t we, boss? 

Foreman. — Soapstone mostly . . . with clay and gravel and 
sand in it. It’s solid stuff . . . and we’ll be 140 feet under 
the surface of the lake. 

Second. — It’s gonna mean a lot to the city, ain’t it ? 

Foreman. — Yes . . . it’ll be a great thing . . . 3,200 feet long. 



Voice. — A nd it’ll take us — years to finish it. 

Voice. — S ay, chief ... I got a kid along with me. Think you 
can take him on as a mucker ? 

Foreman. — I guess so ... if he doesn’t mind shovelin’ mud all 
day. 

Mucker. — M y dad was a sandhog, Mr. Johnson. ... I ain’t 
afraid of work. 

Sound . — Voices up .. . good-naturedly. 

Foreman. — (Chuckle) All right . . . we’ll see. . . . Report here 
tomorrow morning at 8. ... We start on the shaft first 
thing. 

Sound . — Voices up .. . out. 

Narrator. — S o Milwaukee’s great water timnel was started . . . 
a dangerous task in that old-fashioned wooden tunnel 
. . . dimly lit with incandescent lamps . . . with the men- 
ace of the lake always pressing over their heads. 

Sound . — Voices in .. . sound of drilling . . . scraping. 

First. — T his stuff is hard, all right. . . . Look at that soapstone. 

Second. — Y eah. Well, we can be glad it is. . . . It keeps the 
lake up where it belongs. 

First. — S hoot another car down, mucker. We’re drilling through 
this fast. 



434 



SANDHOGS 



Mucker. — Y ep . . . here she comes. 

Second. — W ell, kid . . . how’s it going? You’re new at this, 
ain’t you? 

Mucker. — Y eah . . . but I’m getting on. I didn’t know it was 
so dark in a tunnel. 

Second. — O h, it’s not so bad when you get used to it . . . but 
that’s why we carry candles. . . . You can’t trust these new- 
fangled electric bulbs. 

Mucker. — I never saw candles btim so long either. . . . The 
flames must be a foot long. 

Second. — A ir pressure does that to ’em, kid. 

Mucker. — I t makes your ears hurt, too, doesn’t it ? 

Second. — W hen you’re first in it . . . but you get used to that, 
too. 

Mucker. — S ay, boss, look at the water coming through that 
drill there. 

First. — A w, that’s nothing. . . . That’s been dripping in for an 
hour now. . . . Just lake water. . . . We’re i, 600 feet from 
shore now , . . and we’re apt to get a little seepage. 

Foreman . — (Coming in) All right, men ... we gotta blast 
again. . . . Look’s like we’re far enough into the stone. . . . 
It’s too tough for the drills. 

First. — W e’re ready. ... We gotta couple holes drilled for 
dynamite, if you want to go. 

Foreman. — A ll right, load ’em up . . . and give it plenty of 
fuse. Come on men, out of the heading. . . . We’re going 
to blast. 

Sound . — Drills stop . . . men's voices in background. 

Second. — C lose the shield openings, Joe . . . and clear away 
everybody. . . . We’re lighting the fuse. 

First. — A ll right . . . let ’er go! 

Sound . — Splutter of match and fuse. 

Second. — T his is a quick fuse ... so look out. . . . (Two dull 
explosions of mike) There she goes 1 



435 



BEST BROADCAST S OF 1938-39 

Foreman. — O pen the shield, Pete . . . and watch the smoke as 
she comes out. . . . 

Second. — R ight. . . . (Clang of iron) . . . Better stand back 
until the smoke clears. . . . (Excited) Hey, boss . . . look! 
it’s water. . . . It’s coming through the heading! (Men all 
start to talk) It’s rushing in! 

Sound . — Of water. 

Foreman. — (Puzzled) Water! Water? (Tense and excited) Man 
the pumps, men . . . qiiick! 

Sound . — Water pouring in .. . men's voices getting excited. 

First. — I t’s coming in stronger, Mr. Johnson. . . . 

Foreman. — P ull on the pumps. . . . (Half aside) I don’t imder- 
stand. ... We have plenty of roof 

Sound. — Men's voices up .. . sound of sloshing in water . . . 
deepening . . . men sloshing in it. 

Second. — I t’s gaining on us, chief! . . . the pumps can’t handle 
it! 

Foreman. — (Shouts) O.K., men . . . leave the pumps. (Voices 
up in protest) Clear the tunnel. ... We gotta get out! 

Sound . — Voices . . . sound of men sloshing in water . . . voices 
. . . clank of metal . . . etc. ... up and out. 

Announcer. — B y next morning the entire tunnel and the shaft 
were completely filled with water that bubbled up and 
spilled over the ground at the timnel’s mouth. ... A few 
days later the men gathered at the foreman’s shack waiting 
for word to carry on with the half -built tunnel. 

First. — Y ou know, I don’t understand that flood. . . . The 
engineer’s chart shows we have plenty of ceiling. You could 
blast the tunnel all the way with a roof like that. 

Second. — Y eah . . . it’s funny. . . . Nobody expected the lake 
on our heads like that . . . 1,600 feet of tunnel washed up 
. . . and still running in. . . . Hey, chief . . . what’s the 
news? 

Foreman . — (Fading in) Well, men ... it looks like we gotta 
job on our hands now for sure. 

43 ^ 



SANDHOGS 



Sound. — Men's voices up. 

First. — W e don’t mind that, Mr. Johnson. ... A little lake 
water won’t hurt us. 

Sound . — Men laugh with hint. 

Foreman. — T hat’s just it. ... A little lake water won’t hurt 
us . . . but this isn’t lake water. 

Second. — I sn’t lake water! . . . What d’ya mean ? 

Foreman. — T he report just came back from the laboratory. . . . 
This water isn’t lake water. . . . It’s water from a subter- 
ranean river running right under Lake Michigan. Something 
the engineers didn’t know about. 

First. — S ubterranean river ? . . . Holy smoke ! 

Second. — G ee, we must have blown the whole bed out. . . . 
What do we do now, boss ? 

Foreman. — ^W e go back and start again . . . with a new set of 
plans to detom: the river. ... It means a delay of 3 years. 

First. — T hree years ! 

Foreman. — Y es ... it means Milwaukee won’t get its water 
tunnel for a while yet. But we gotta see it through, boys. 

Sound . — Voices up .. . sure . . . you bet. 

Second. — W e’ll see it through, boss. . . . No subterranean 
river’s gonna lick this sandhog. . . . 

Sound. — Men's voices up .. . laughing . . . enthusiastic . . . 
ready for the job. 

Narrator. — O n . . . (May 12, 1895) . . . the tunnel was finished, 
bringing precious water to Milwaukee ... its mills ... its 
surrounding wheat fields. The sandhogs had won this battle, 
and millions were to benefit. While the West built tunnels 
for water . . . and for great railroads that were burrowing 
through the mountains . . . the East turned to tunnels to 
solve the ever-increasing transportation problem in its cities. 
New York had already experimented with subways. . . . 
In 1870 an amazing tunnel a little over a block long was 
built under lower Broadway ... 21 feet below street 



437 



BEST BROADCAST S OF 1938-39 



level. Through it ran a single car blown in one direction 
by air pressure . . . sucked back on the return trip. It 
failed to attract the public, however, and was soon bricked 
up and forgotten. In 1905 New York’s first successful sub- 
way went into operation from Manhatten to Brooklyn 
. . . and the city entered a new era of expansion. In 1915 
the tunnel for a subway at Montague Street in New York 
was started. Tunneling conditions were much improved 
by this time. Gone were the old wooden timbers. . . . Steel 
and concrete were taking their place. Gone too were the 
dim, dangerous candles. The men trusted electricity now, 
and hundreds of bulbs lit the long tube. But the danger of 
water and air was ever present . . . the danger of water 
coming through the tunnel roof . . . and the danger of air 
pressure blowing through a soft spot in the roof, with a 
current that took everything up with it ... a cvurent no 
man wotild withstand. 

Announcer. — I t was late one afternoon in the Montague 
Street Tube when an event occurred that made tunnel 
history. . . . The men were working in the huge shield, 
digging out mud. . . . {Sounds up and fade to B.G. . . . 
Men talking . . . rattle of cars, etc.) . . . and slowly push- 
ing the great steel cylinder forward through the river bot- 
tom. {Rush of air) Three men . . . Frank Driver, Marshall 
Mabey, and Joe McCarthy . . . were up in the heading. 



Frank. — Push another car along, will you, Joe. . . . That’s got 
all the muck it’ll take. 

Joe. — Yep . . . here she goes. . . . Say, this is soft stuff, isn’t 
it? 



Marshall. — Yeah . . . and this is some pressure we’re under. 
. . . Boy, I’ll be glad to get off this shift. 

Frank. — Thirty-five pounds to the square inch . . . and you 
oughta be glad of it. . . . It’s keeping the river out of our 
laps. 

Marshall. — Yeah . . . it’s funny to think of all that water over 
us . . . boats and all . . . and nobody realizes we’re down 
here. 

Joe. — They’ll realize it when we get this tunnel built. Hey, 
Frank . . . look at that roof! 

438 



SA NDHOGS 



Frank. — W hatsa matter ... a soft spot ? 

Joe. — N o ... a tough one. . . . Look at this boulder! 

Frank. — H oly smoke . . . that is a rock . . . right in the roof 
too . . . and we don’t dare blast. . . . 

Joe. — O ne blast . . . and we’d be flooded. . . . Nope ... we 
gotta pry it out. Let’s try the crowbars. 

Marshall. — O.K. . . . here they are. . . . 

Sound . — Clatter of iron. 

Joe. — (Grunts) Boy . . . this is a tough one. . . . It’ll leave 
some hole. 

Frank . — (Also grunts . . . sounds of metal on iron) Golly, I 
hope there’s plenty of ceiling left. . . . We’d go up through 
the roof with this air pressure like a cork off a bottle. 

Joe. — I t’ll hold. . . . Here she comes. 

Marshall. — S he’s moving I 

Frank. — W atch out below. . . . This rock’s gonna fall ! 

Sound. — Men's voices . . . crash of rock . . . sudden rush of 
air. 

Voice. — I t’s a blow! (Rush increases to roar of air) Look out, 
men! 

(Following lines quick but distinguishable) 

Frank. — H elp. . . . It’s pulling me ! 

Joe. — H elp . . . help. , . . I can’t stand! 

Marshall. — I t’s blowing me ! 

Voice . — (Off . . . horror in voice) Men. . . . Quick . . . Grab 
their feet. . . . They’re going off the roof. . . , Grab 
them ! 

Second. — T hey’ve gone . . . my God . . . right through the 
river bottom. . . . 

Sound . — Rush of water. 

Voice. — H ere comes the water. . . . (Rush of water) Run for 
it, men — run!! 



439 



BEST BROADCAST S OF 1938-39 

Sound . — Confusion of voices . . . rushing water ... up .. . 
hold . . . out. 

Announcer. — T hree men blown clear through the solid muck of 
river bottom ... up through the river itself. Two of the 
men died instantly, but miraculously the third was blown 
through the hole made by the others and was picked up 
alive on the river surface. 

A few weeks later, Marshall Mabey, the survivor, lay in 
the hospital recovering from an almost fatal case of the 
bends after being catapulted from 35 pounds of tunnel 
pressure to 14 pounds of normal air pressure. It was a 
recovery that was to take him a year. 

Foreman . — {Fading in) Well, Marshall ... I never thought 
I’d see you in a hospital bed. . . . You look almost as good 
as new. 

Marshall. — H ello, chief. . . . I’m going to be all right. How’s 
the tunnel going along ? 

Foreman. — A ll right. . . . It’ll take us a couple of more years 
yet. 

Marshall. — N o more accidents ? 

Foreman. — N ot after yours. . . . You know, Marshall, it’s a 
miracle you’re alive today after that blow. 

Marshall. — I know it is. {Voice low) I’m sorry about Frank 
and Joe. . . . They went ... a tough way. . . . They 
were real men. ... I was proud to work with ’em. 

Foreman . — {Also low) Yes ... I know. 

Marshall . — {Trying to get hack to normal conversation) 'W&Vi . . . 
how did you fix up the timnel ? 

Foreman. — I t was some job. . . . The tunnel flooded . . . and 
the hole was so bad the air pressure didn’t keep the water 
out, so we had to tackle it from the river surface. 

Marshall. — T he surface. 

Foreman. — Y es. To fill up the hole, we finally had to take a 
heavy canvas weighted with granite at each comer . . . 
sink it from a boat over the hole. . . . Then we dumped 
barge loads of yellow clay on top of that . . . and then 
turned on the air pressure inside the tunnel until it equaled 
the river pressure. Then we went back to work. 

440 



SANDHOGS 



Marshall. — (Admiringly) Boy, chief . . . that was some stunt. 

Foreman. — Yes ... it was. Well, Marshall. ... I suppose 
you’ll give up sandhogging after this ? 

Marshall. — Give up sandhogging ? . . . Listen, chief . . . I’m 
a sandhog . . . and if they ever let me out of here. I’m going 
right on being a sandhog. . . . Would you give it up? 

Foreman. — No ... I guess not. 

Marshall. — Well, neither would I! This town’s gonna need a 
lot more tunnels . . . and we’re the guys that are gonna 
build ’em! 

Narrator. — And they did build them! Through obstacles, 
through dangers, the tunnel men carried on . . . wherever 
tunnels were needed, wherever there was rock or sand or 
water to be conquered beneath the earth’s surface, these men 
and their families went. One by one, they completed giant 
tasks. . . . 

First Voice. — (Forceful, brisk headline style) A hundred and 
twenty-three miles of subway in New York City gave their 
passengers each day 1,237,000 hours . . . the equivalent 
each day of 18,000 full lifetimes for work, for play, for 
self-de velopment . 

Second. — Water tunnels across the nation contribute to the 
irrigation of 4 million acres of land . . . with annual crops 
worth 175 million dollars. 

Third. — The 6 2 -mile tunnel under Chicago carries the freight 
of the nation ! 

Fourth. — The 6-mile Moffet tunnel carries transcontinental 
trains under the Rocky Mountain range in 10 minutes . . . 
trains formerly held up as much as 31 days in heavy snows. 

Fifth. — Fifty -nine miles of tunnels bring water from the Sierra 
Nevadas to San Francisco and the Pacific Coast! 

Announcer. — The tunnels of America, made possible by the 
work of the tunnel men, the sandhogs; Americans at work! 
[Program then switched to pick up an interview between 
Bob Trout and a sandhog actually conducted in a tunnel 
beneath the river. After an announcer had set the scene. 
Trout began his questioning as he was preparing to go into 
the lock which led to the chamber under pressure.] 



441 



BEST BROADCASTS OF 1938-39 

Trout. — Tell me, how great is the air pressure in the boring 
chamber ahead ? 

Talbot. — Thirteen pounds per square inch. 

Trout. — That sounds like a lot of pressure to me. Do you vary 
it? 

Talbot. — Oh, yes, we vary it with the pressure above it. 

Trout. — Why do you vary it? Why do you have so great a 
pressure there ? 

Talbot. — According to the depth that we’re down and the water 
above us. 

Trout. — I see. You try to keep the water out by that air pressure. 

Talbot. — We do keep it out. 

Trout. — Do you vary your working hours with the pressure ? 

Talbot. — Oh, yes, the men work according to the pressure. The 
higher the pressure, the lower the hours. 

Trout. — What sort of schedule do they work on, Mr. Talbot ? 

Talbot. — On this job they’re working on 6 hours. That’s 3 in, 
3 out, and 3 on. The greater the pressvure, the shorter the 
hours and the higher the pay. 

Trout. — I see. Well, there’s an awful lot of noise from that 
exhaust pipe. That’s the exhaust from the chamber ahead 
where the men are under pressure. Well, let’s just go into 
this lock and go forward. I’ll take the microphone right with 
me. I have to stoop a bit to get into this lock and carry the 
portable microphone along. Perhaps you can hear the echoes 
of my heels hitting on the cement here. A lot of people point 
the way for me to go. It’s sort of like a revolving barrel in 
an amusement park, Mr. Talbot. I have to kind of stoop 
to get in, but it doesn’t revolve. ... I hope it doesn’t. 
Now, wait a minute, take it a little bit easy here now. This 
is all new to me, you know. 

Talbot. — All right, Mr. Trout. 

Trout. — What do I do ? 

Talbot. — Just hold your nose and keep blowing to equalize 
the pressure when your eardrums become tight. 

442 



5/1 NDHOGS 



Trout. — I’ve got a piece of chewing gtim in my mouth; that’s 
right, isn’t it ? 

Talbot. — Yes. You keep chewing. 

Trout. — I’ll keep chewing, and I have to explain to the radio 
audience that I’ll have to stop talking, too, when you tium 
that air on, right ? 

Talbot. — Yes, that’s right. There’ll be so much noise. 

Trout. — Who’s going to lock that door, that big metal door 
down there ? 

Talbot. — Mr. Wheeler will take care of that, and the lock 
tender will open the valves. 

Trout. — I wouldn’t have you think that I’m nervous at all, but 
don’t men ever get nervous in here the first time ? 

Talbot. — Yes, a little bit. 

Trout. — Have you ever had any interesting experiences ? 

Talbot. — Yes, I had a gang run back at the door after it was 
closed in Belgium. I had them: they corddn’t get out. 

Trout. — Why ? 

Talbot. — Because the air pressure was holding the door closed. 

Trout. — The pressure holds it closed? I mean, I couldn’t open 
it if I tried ? 

Talbot. — You try it, Mr. Trout. 

Trout. — Well, go ahead and put the air on. I’m ready. 

Talbot. — T here’s 30 tons pressure going on now. 

Trout. — ^Let’s have it. I’ll hold my nose right now. 

Sound. — Air pressure. 

Trout. — Is that all ? 

Talbot. — Not all yet. 

Sound. — Air pressure. 

Talbot. — Is everyone all right? Now, just a moment. We have 
one man back. 



U3 



BEST BROADCAST S OP 1938-39 

Trout. — Oh, really? Do you think you can let the air out a 
little bit? 

Talbot. — All right now. Let it go a little fvu*ther. 

Sound. — Air pressure. 

Trout. — I certainly will tell them how hot it is. It’s like a 
Turkish bath. What happened to the temperature? Every- 
one’s quite all right. I wouldn’t want to have any accidents 
while we’re on the air, naturally. It is a bit difficult to talk. 
As a matter of fact, it was a bit harder getting through 
here than you led me to believe, Mr. Talbot. 

Talbot. — Oh, yes. Well, after you’ve been through once, 
Mr. Trout, you’ll be an old veteran. 

Trout. — Yes, I’m an old veteran. What happened to the crease 
in my trousers? 

Talbot. — It’s the heat in here. 

Trout. — What makes it so hot? I’ll have to take off my coat, I 
think, before we get through here. 

Talbot. — It’s the air pressure. 

Trout. — Just air pressme alone? Well, I’ll take the microphone 
in my hand, and now we’ll actually step out of the man lock. 
We’re through that metal barrel, and we’re standing right 
out in the chamber under pressure. Once you get under 
pressure, there doesn’t seem to be much to it. I don’t notice 
any difference now, Mr. Talbot. 

Talbot. — Right where you stand now, Mr. Trout, is where 
you’re entering the sand in the roof. 

Trout. — That’s where the cast-iron lining is starting. There’s 
nothing but sand up there on the top. The place is brilliantly 
lighted by some hundred electric globes, and I see about 
30 men up there stripped to the waist and working furiously. 
They certainly don’t shirk on that job, do they? What’s 
that great big round thing like a door, like a vavdt on a bank 
door? 

Talbot. — That’s not a vault, Mr. Trout, that’s a shield. 

Trout. — What’s a shield? 

444 



SANDHOGS 



Talbot. — That is a shield. It’s like a big steel cylinder with 
14 hydraulic jacks which force it forward and through; 
that is where the sandhogs work, in the front. 

Trout. — And that’s the tunnel end. That shield moves forward 
as the tunnel advances, is that right? How fast does the 
tunnel advance? 

Talbot. — Oh, maybe about 10 feet a day. 

Trout. — Well, Mr. Talbot, let’s stay back here out of the noise 
of those hydraiilic drills fighting through that rock and the 
shovels going through the sand, and if you’d call Mr. Weaver 
over ... I can see that he’s one of your sandhogs who are 
working with you. He came through the lock with us. If you 
call Mr. Weaver over I’d like to ask you both a couple of 
questions. Mr. Weaver, you’re not nervous, talking through 
the microphone, are you ? 

Weaver. — No, no, no. 

Trout. — I must admit I was a little bit nervous with that air 
you had in there and what you did to me. 

Weaver. — I guess you’re all right now, eh? 

Trout. — I think I’m all right. You’ve worked with Mr. Talbot 
a long time, Joe? 

Joe. — Yes. 

Trout. — When did you start with him ? 

Joe. — In 1908. 

Trout. — Do you travel a lot in this job? You’ve been in other 
countries ? 

Joe. — Yes, Belgium, Canada, all over the world. 

Trout. — Don’t you have a hard time when you’re traveling? 
Being away from home so much . . . that sort of thing ? 

Joe. — We take our families with us, Mr. Trout. 

Trout. — Do you have families, both of you ? 

Both. — Y es. 

Trout. — Do you want your boys to become sandhogs ? 

445 



BEST BROADCASTS OF 1938-39 



Joe. — I guess they’ll do the same as we did. We didn’t have 
any choice. They’ll have to follow in their fathers’ footsteps, 
I guess. 

Trout. — You don’t think it’s a bad job, do you? 

Joe. — No, I don’t. 

Trout. — Tell me, Joe Weaver, don’t you think it’s sort of 
tiresome working here with the same men all the time, day 
in and day out 24 hoxirs a day? 

Joe. — No! 

Trout. — You don’t mind? 

Joe. — I like ’em. 

Trout. — How about you, Mr. Talbot? Does it get on your 
nerves working with the same men all the time ? 

Tablot. — Oh, no. No, no. I like ’em. 

Trout. — You like them. That certainly is a good way to be as 
long as you work down in here. This is the most amazing 
sort of place I’ve ever been in, as a matter of fact. This is 
really dangerous sort of work, isn’t it? Down here under 
this tremendous air pressure all the time. Are there many 
accidents ? 

Talbot. — Accidents are just part of the story. They build 
tunnels in spite of accidents. My father built them, his 
father built them, and I wouldn’t do anything else. But, 
of course, you never can quite forget the air. It doesn’t feel 
any different, once you’re in it, except that you get tired 
out quickly. But you never can forget the tunnel either when 
you’re in the tunnel or when you’re at home. It does shorten 
your life, and you know a sandhog can’t buy insurance. 

Trout. — Why can’t he, Mr. Talbot ? 

Talbot. — Because the premiiuns are so high. 

Trout. — It’s been pleasant indeed meeting both of you gentle- 
men here beneath Manhattan and talking to you while 
people above us on the surface go calmly about their daily 
routine, riding in streetcars, automobiles, elevators in sky- 
scrapers. Most of them probably don’t even know the sand- 
hogs are burrowing beneath them down here, unless they 

446 



SA NDHOGS 



were listening to their radios during this conversation. And 
now, fellows, I’ll be getting decompressed. So long, Mr. Tal- 
bot; so long, Joe Weaver. 

Men. — S o long, Mr. Trout. 

Trout. — Good-by, and next time I ride through a tunnel I’ll 
remember you sandhogs down here, building tunnels to 
speed America on her way. 



447 



BEST DOCUMENTARY SHOW 



No Help Wanted 

by William N. Robson 

ijamfl aflfiaflflaaflaflgflga000 gQ0gfl0B0Qflfl00Q0Q0QQ0 . QQQQ , 

N o Help Wanted” is one of a series of documentary 
broadcasts produced in New York for the British 
Broadcasting Corporation and broadcast from sound film 
over the BBC transmitters in England. It has never been 
heard in this country. 

This series has included thus far “Crosstown Man- 
hattan,” a documentary inspection of a New York street; 
“G Men against Crime,” an examination of the Federal 
Bureau of Investigation; and “No Help Wanted,” a 
panorama of the nation’s depression and the efforts of the 
Works Progress Administration to solve the nation’s unem- 
ployment problem. The first of the American documentary 
broadcasts was “Ecce Homo,” by Pare Lorentz. It was 
repeated in London in the summer of 1938, with British- 
American actors. 

The BBC has for years been presenting documentary or 
“actuality” broadcasts, but “Ecce Homo,” which pre- 
sented a picture of American unemployment, was the first 
American experiment in this technique. To produce such a 
broadcast in London was perhaps an audacious attempt to 
carry coals to Newcastle, but the British press received the 
production with unanimous acclaim and editorially asked 
why their own radio producers did not give them such a 
picture of the British “distressed areas.” 

The British press acceptance of the American documen- 
taries that followed has been increasingly generous and 
enthusiastic. Upon hearing “No Help Wanted,” London 
newspapers insisted, “Nothing finer has yet come from 
America, including “Job To Be Done” [the British title 
for “Ecce Homo”]. 

As may readily be seen upon reading the script, the 
documentary technique differs greatly from the technique 



M 



NO HELP WANTED 

used in other forms of radio writing. First, the author 
must Hmit himself to fact. He must be able to prove what 
he says. He must make these facts interesting. He must 
(and here again is the persistent problem of all educational 
radio) entertain as he informs. For unless he does, he loses 
that vast section of his audience that are looking for escape 
rather than enlightenment in their radio listening. And 
usually it is of vital importance that such people be 
reached with the message that the documentary broadcast 
carries. 

For, it must be frankly admitted, the documentary 
broadcast is a form of propaganda. Impartial though the 
writer may be, he will find that in presenting a documented 
picture of any given subject, the facts presented will result 
in an over-aU point of view. It has been said that there are 
three sides to a question, yours and mine and the facts. 
And the facts have a curious way of adding up to a point 
of view. 

The student of radio scripts may be interested to note 
the unusual technique of “No Help Wanted.” There are 
very few scenes. There is a preponderance of closely written 
narrative. This would be poor technique for radio plays 
of the standard type, but it is one way of presenting the 
documentary broadcast. Although such a presentation 
may seem dull to the reader, it should be remembered that 
from the printed script there are missing the color and 
emotional value, the dimension of the actor’s voice, the 
musical background, and the sound effects. Without these, 
radio sometimes makes difficult closet drama. 

“No Help Wanted” is included in this anthology be- 
cause of the vigor of its expression, the effectiveness of 
its fast panoramic treatment, and particularly because 
the documentary show — still the nursling of the radio indus- 
try — now promises to cut its milk teeth. Some day when 
writers have more deeply explored this new horizon of 
broadcasting, this piece will have a purely museum interest. 
Today it stands as a challenge to the American writer to 
experiment with a new dimension. 



U9 



No Help Wanted’ 



UUUUJUUULO-OJLtULtLiULJUUUUUULiLI^^ 

Music . — Theme ... in ... up .. . build . . . down for 

Announcer . — No Help Wanted! 

Music . — Theme ... up and under. 

Narrator. — T his is a story of America. It is the story of the 
greatest suffering the people of the United States have ever 
known. It’s a story of a people’s improvidence and a nation’s 
courage. It is the story of a greater collective experiment in 
human rehabilitation than any country in the world has 
ever before attempted. It is a story told in millions of men 
and billions of money ... a story which may sound 
unbelievable but of which every word is true. Like all true 
stories, it is not perfect; like all human stories, it is not yet 
finished. 

This is a story of America ! 

This was America lo years ago. 

Music . — Theme up and fade. 

Voice. — {Filter) American Universal, consolidated, 185 . . . 
185H • • • 187 . . . 190 . . . 191. . . . {This voice con- 
tinues increasing stock quotes) 

Second Voice. — B uy steel. . . . 

Third Voice. — B uy motors. . . . 

Fourth Voice. — B uy Tel and Tel. ... 

Second Voice. — B uy. . . . 

Third. — B uy. . . . 

Fourth Voice. — B uy. . . . 

* Copyright, 1939, by William N. Robson. Permission to perform all or 

any part of “No Help Wanted" must be obtained from the copyright 

owner. 



450 



NO HELP WANTED 



Narrator. — T his was America lo years ago, the America of 
the Coolidge boom, the America of Hoover prosperity, the 
fabulous America of country clubs and shiny automobiles, of 
electric refrigerators, modem plumbing, and six-tube 
heterodyne radio sets, the America of a new economy, an 
economy of perpetual prosperity ideally expressed by its 
President Hoover. 

Hoover. — T wo cars in every garage and a chicken in every pot. 

Second Narrator. — B ut in March, lo years ago, in March of 
1929 ... 

Voice. — T here are estimated to be 2,860,000 unemployed people 
in the United States. 

Narrator. — W hat of it? What of a mere 2 or 3 million unem- 
ployed in a nation of a 125 million people ? 

Voice. — A drop in the bucket. 

Second Voice. — T here’s always some people who won’t work. 

Third Voice. — S easonal unemployment, no doubt. 

Second Narrator. — W hat of it? Listen to the music of that 
stock ticker. . . . 

Sound. — Background ticker voice comes up. 

Voice. — {Fades to background, accelerating now) 

First Voice. — B uy steel. . . . 

Second Voice. — B uy motors. . . . 

Third Voice. — B uy copper. . . . 

Fourth Voice. — B uy oil. . . . 

First Voice. — B uy. . . . 

Second Voice. — B uy. . . . 

Third Voice. — B uy. . . . 

Fourth Voice. — B uy. . . . 

{Continues in order, accelerating 

Music. — Sneaks under above and wipe out with crash! 

Narrator. — This was America in October of 1929. This was 
America after black Thursday. 



451 



BEST BROADCAST S OF 1938-39 

Voice of Ticker. — {Slow, monotonous) United States Steel 21. 
. . . American Tel. and Tel. 69. . . . General Motors 
7. . . . Anaconda Copper 3, . . . {Continues in background) 

Music. 

Employer. — Until things improve we have found it necessary 
to dispense with your valued services. . . . 

Second Employer. — Due to the present unstable conditions in 
industry, we have been forced to shut down our Youngstown 
plant and place the Aliquippa unit on half time. . . . 

Third Employer. — I feel sure, men, that this depression will not 
last long. Remember, our President has assured us that 
prosperity is just around the comer. . . . 

Narrator. — January, 1930. Four million unemployed, and 
America sang a new song. 

Music. — “Buddy Can You Spare a Dime?" . . . eight bars . . . 
{Orchestra and chorus). 

Second Narrator. — Out from the great industrial centers, out 
from New York, from Chicago, from Pittsburgh, from 
Birmingham, surged the hopeless gray tide of panic, which 
the nation preferred to call depression. 

Narrator. — Westward, across the smoke-stained steel towns, 
across the grimy mine towns, across the once busy ports 
of the Great Lakes, westward across the vast flat plains, still 
standing waist deep in waving yellow wheat and rustling 
green corn, swept the waves of unemployment. 

September, 1930, 5 million unemployed. . . . 

January i, 1931 . . . 6 million unemployed. 

Music. — Last two bars, “Buddy Can You Spare a Dime?” 

Narrator. — And while bread lines formed on the snow-swept 
streets of American cities, while gangster A1 Capone opened 
a soup kitchen in Chicago, Myron C. Taylor, president 
of the United States Steel Corporation asstued the nation by 
radio . . . 

Taylor. — {Filter) While the number of unemployed is consider- 
able, the number in real distress is relatively few, because 
the masses have been provident and are caring for them- 
selves and each other. 



452 



NO HELP WANTED 



Mister Man. — T urn it off, Mildred. 

Sound. — Switch click. 

Mister Man. — T he masses have been provident and are caring 
for themselves. Who’s caring for us, I’d like to know? 

Mildred. — Now, Eddie, don’t talk like that, we’ll get along 
somehow. 

Mister Man. — How? We’re at the end of the rope, Mildred. 
Installment people have taken the car. They’ve taken the 
electric refrigerator, and they’re coming for the radio 
tomorrow because I can’t keep up the payments. Our last 
night with the radio, and I hear a stuffed shirt telling me 
we’re taking care of ourselves. 

Mildred. — Well, John, he wasn’t referring to us. . . . 

Mister Man. — What do you mean ? 

Mildred. — ^Well, after all, you’re a salesman. . . . You aren’t 
an ordinary day laborer. The masses are . . . well, oh, you 
know what I mean. . . . We don’t belong to the masses. 



Mister Man. — I’m not so sure about that, Mildred. When 
you’ve been out of a job as long as I have, you get to think- 
ing about a lot of things. When you see everything you’ve 
worked for go out from under you, your savings, yotur 
house, your car, your . . . your radio . . . you begin to 
wonder. ... I guess we are the masses, Mildred. ... I 
guess it’s phony to have any ideas about being better than 
the next one any more. . . . 

Mildred. — Eddie, that’s no way to talk. 

Mister Man. — I dunno why it’s happened. . . . All I know is 
that I can’t get a job, and I can’t borrow any more money 
on my life insurance . . . and the bank won’t give me any 
. . . and everybody’s as bad off as I am. ... I guess we 
are the masses, all right, Mildred. . . . It’s a cinch we’re 
all in the same boat . . . and I guess that guy on the radio’s 
screwy, because we haven’t been provident, and we’re not 
taking care of ourselves because we don’t know how, and 
there isn’t anyone to help us. 

Music. 



453 



BEST BROADCAST S OF 1938-39 

Narrator. — S eptember, 1931, 8 million unemployed. . . . 

Second Narrator. — D ecember, loH million. . . . 

Narrator. — A nother winter of soup kitchens and bread lines, of 
silent people on street comers selling apples, of hopelessness, 
of fear, of hunger and cold. 

Second Narrator. — L ocal charities have exhausted their funds. 
State organizations have no money. From the Atlantic to 
the Pacific, from Canada to Mexico, from towns and farms 
and cities, there rises a rumble. . . . 

Voice. — T he government must help. 

Second Voice. — T he government must help. . . . 

Third Voice. — T he government must help. 

Fourth Voice. — T he government must help. . . . 

Third Voice. — T hese people aren’t hoboes, they’re not tramps, 
they’re Americans. 

Fourth Voice. — T hey’re our neighbors. . . . 

Fifth Voice. — T hey’re you and me. . . . 

Chorus. — T his isn’t a local matter or a state matter. . . . 

Second Voice. — I t’s a national matter. . . . 

Chorus. — T he government must help. 

Music . — Short chord or bridge. 

Narrator. — A nd from Washington comes the cool reply of the 
assistant director of the new and now frankly named 
Organization of Unemployment Relief. . . . 

Thorpe. — T he proposition that the government should give aid 
to the unemployed is unwise, economically unsound, and 
fraught with public danger. 

Narrator. — A nd in Pittsburgh, the sky was deep blue, and not 
a mill chimney belched smoke. 

Second Narrator — A nd in Oklahoma, the dust buried the 
farms. 

Third Narrator. — A nd in California, armed guards loaded 
starving Mexican families on to sealed trains bound south 
across the border. 



454 



NO HELP WANTED 



Fourth Narrator. — A nd in New York and Boston and Youngs- 
town and Scranton, men shuffled along the streets, their 
freezing feet wrapped in rags. . . . 

Fifth Narrator. — A nd Chicago . . . the fourth largest city 
in the world, with half a million citizens on charity relief, 
cannot collect its taxes . . . cannot pay its schoolteachers, 
its firemen, its police . . . because there is no money. . . . 

Narrator. — B ut at last a ray of hope ... a bill providing for 
small loans to states for relief purposes is passed by Congress. 

Second Narrator. — ^A nd vetoed by President Hoover, who 
explains . . . 

Hoover. — I t unbalances the budget . . . 

Narrator. — E ight million unemployed. . . . 

Second Narrator. — T en million. . . . 

Third Narrator. — T welve million. . . . 

Narrator. — A nd in small villages and towns all over the country 
is repeated the incident which occurred at Hazard, in the 
hills of Kentucky. . . . 

Crowd . — {Murmur comes in) 

Leader. — N ow, boys, there’s the sheriff standin’ in front of the 
warehouse. . . . 

Man. — H e ain’t gonna stop us. . . . 

Second Man. — R eckon he ain’t. . . . 

Leader. — D on’t get rough, boys. . . . I’ll talk to him. . . . 
Howdy, sheriff. . . . 

Sheriff. — H owdy, boys. . . . Heard you was cornin’ to town. 



Leader. — Yeah, reckon you did. . . . 

Sheriff. — ^Lookin’ for trouble, boys ? 

Leader.— -No, we ain’t aimin’ for no trouble, sheriff. . . . 

Sheriff. — I didn’t think you was ... so better go along peace- 
ablelike back to your farms. . . . 



455 



BEST BROADCAST S OP 1938-39 



Leader. — S htire, we figger to do that, sheriff, after we get us 
somethin’ to eat. . . . 

Sheriff. — P lenty to eat uptown. . . . 

Leader. — Y eah, but we run outa credit. . . . 

Sheriff. — I can’t help that. . . . 

Leader. — I know it, sheriff . . . but you ain’t gonna hinder 
us neither. . . . 

Sheriff. — W hat do you boys want. . . . 

Crowd . — {Murmurs several ad libs . . . something to eat”) 

Leader. — S heriff, you’re standin’ plumb in front of the door of a 
warehouse that’s got vittles in it. ... We calculate to 
take them vittles home to our wives and kids. 

Sheriff. — I t’s unlawful. 

Leader. — I don’t know much about the law, sheriff ... as 
you know it . . . but I know about another law, and that 
law says when you’re hungry you gotta eat. Well, my old 
lady’s hungry, and my kids is whimperin’ because their 
bellies is empty, and they can’t eat no more grass and bark. 
Now, I don’t know why that is. I don’t know why I can’t 
sell my crops or get credit at the bank. I don’t understand 
any of them things . . . but the boys and me know we’re 
hungry. . . . 

Crowd. — {Reaction) 

Voice. — C ome on, Lem, stop the jawin’. . . . Let’s get them 
vittles. . . . 

Leader. — W ell, sheriff, the boys is gettin’ out of hand. Some of 
’em is armed. 

Sheriff. — I t’s agin’ the law. . . . 

Leader. — I can’t help that, sheriff. . . . 

Sheriff. — Y ou boys better go back home, and I’ll see what I can 
do with the charity people. . . . 

Voice. — T he charity people . . . them rats. . . . 

Sound. — Shot. 

Leader. — J ake, I told you not to do that. . . . 

456 



NO HELP WANTED 



Jake. — A w, I jest knocked his hat off ... to show him I 
ain’t lost my touch. . . . 

Voices. — {Laugh) 

Leader. — Well, sheriff? 

Sheriff. — {Wryly) Guess you boys ain’t in a talkin’ mood. . . . 

Leader. — That’s right, sheriff, so jest stand to one side. . . . 
Come on, boys. . . . 

Crowd. — {Low roar) 

Sound. — Heavy door opening. 

Leader. — There y’are, boys, help yourself. . . . Flour, bacon, 
beans, molasses, the hull works. . . . 

Crowd. — {Ad libs rise) 

Music. — Tag . 

Narrator. — And the shelves groaned with goods that wouldn’t 
move, and the warehouses burst with grain that no one 
could buy, and the wealthiest nation on earth suffered an 
embarrassment of riches which no one could explain. 

Second Narrator. — Men fear what they do not understand. 
That inexplicable year of 1932, fear gripped America. 

Third Voice. — People who could afford it stocked their larders 
with staples and tinned foods. 

Fourth Voice. — People who had any money changed it into 
gold and hid it. 

Fifth Voice. — And people talked openly of revolution. . . . 

Voice. — The people in the upper income brackets. 

Narrator. — The unemployed, the dispossessed, the hopeless 
talked of jobs, of work, of food and colonized the dumps and 
unsanitary vacant lots on the outskirts of the great cities 
. . . too dazed to think of revolution, too busy building com- 
munities of shanties which they grimly called “ Hooverville.” 

Music. 

Voice. — The richest land on earth. 

Music. 



I 



457 



BEST BROADCAST S OF 1938-39 

Second Voice. — On February 14, 1932, the Union Guardian 
Bank in Detroit suspended business. 

Third Voice. — A week later, the Guaranty Trust Company of 
Atlantic City failed. 

Fourth Voice. — In June, the Arcadia Trust Company of 
Newark closed its doors. 

Voice. — The richest land on earth. 

Second Voice. — And the money hidden, the gold hoarded, the 
currency out of circulation. 

Narrator. — And the senseless horror of panic seized the nation. 

Voice. — In Michigan, in the winter of 1933, the governor 
closed all the banks. State after state followed his example. 
Commerce stood still. People bartered and traded, and in 
a little town in northern California, clamshells became the 
currency {pause) . . . and the nation held its breath. 

Narrator. — Such was the situation on March 4, 1933, when 
the American people turned to their new leader, listened 
to the voice of their newly elected president, Franklin 
Delano Roosevelt, who, in his inaugural address said . . . 

Roosevelt. — This is the time to speak the truth, frankly and 
boldly. A host of unemployed citizens face the grim problem 
of existence, and an equally great number toil with little 
return. Only a foolish optimism can deny the dark realities 
of the moment. This nation asks for action and action now. 
Our greatest primary task is to put people to work. I am 
prepared, under my constitutional duty, to recommend the 
measures that a stricken nation in the midst of a stricken 
world may require. I may ask the Congress for broad execu- 
tive power to wage war against the emergency as great 
as the power that would be given me if we were in fact 
invaded by a foreign foe. We do not distrust the future of an 
essential democracy. The people of the United States have 
not failed. 

Music. — Hail to the chief. 

Voice. — And to save the nation from chaos, the President’s 
first official act was to close all the banks in the land, to 
put a stop to senseless fear. 

45S 



NO HELP WANTED 



Second Narrator. — But 15 million people were still unemployed. 

Third Narrator. — Thirty million hands idle . . . hands that 
once had run machinery, hands that had kept books, hands 
that had painted pictures and composed music and held 
test tubes, hands that had tilled the soil and run the engines 
and fished the seas of the nation. Hands skilled and unskilled 
hands that were now rusting and idle . . . hands through 
which no money passed. Thirty million idle hands, some of 
them I, some 2, some 3, some 4 years idle. The wealth of 
the nation wasting away. 

Narrator. — T he only thing we have to fear is fear itself. 

Second Voice. — Backed by solidly Democratic Congress, backed 
by the confidence of a despairing nation. President Roosevelt 
begins a series of the most colossal experiments in social 
engineering in the history of the world. 

Voice. — Through Congress was rushed the Federal Emergency 
Relief Act, which authorized the spending of 500 million 
dollars for relief. 

Second Voice. — But this was direct relief. This was a dole. 

Voice. — And the American feels peculiar about such things. . . . 

Man. — I’ll be darned if I’d take it if it weren’t for Ella and the 
kids. I don’t want a handout. I don’t want charity. I want 

a job. . . . 

Voice. — Yes, a job and the radio and the refrigerator and an 
automobile . . . the symbols of the American way of life. 

Narrator. — But most of all a job. 

Second Narrator. — To put these millions of hands to work 
quickly, led to a new organization, the Civil Works Ad- 
ministration. 

Narrator. — Through this administration, launched in October 
of 1933, the government put 4 million people to work in 
less than 90 days, put them to work at any jobs that could 
be found, leaf raking, snow shoveling, road building. 

Second Voice. — And for the first time in years, there were wages 
in 4 million pockets. 

Music. 



459 



BEST BROADCAST S OF 1938-39 

Child. — Mama wants 2 quarts of milk today, please. 

Grocer. — Two quarts? 

Child. — Yes. Papa’s got a job. He’s workin’ for the government. 

Music. — Continues. 

Grocer. — Guess you can leave an extra two cases of milk 
today, Jim. 

Driver. — Business lookin’ up ? 

Grocer. — Well, there’s more money in this neighborhood, since 
that government CWA started hirin’ the men. 

Music. — Continues. 

Driver. — Got orders for 10 more cases on my route today, boss. 

Boss. — That’s fine. 

Music. — Continues. 

Boss. — Hello, Sunnyside Farms ? 

Farmer. — {Filter) Yes? 

Boss. — This is the Gilt Edge Dairy. Can you deliver us twice 
as much nfilk as you’ve been sending ? 

Farmer. — {Filter) Sure. Got so much I can’t sell. I been dumpin’ 
it. 

Boss. — O.K., we’ll take it. Our orders are way up. 

Music. — Continues. 

Farmer. — Well, mother, since we got that contract with the 
Gilt Edge, I’m thinkin’ we might buy a new dress for you 
. . . and maybe a Sunday suit for me. 

Music. — Continues . . . Builds and tags. 

Narrator. — Four million people with money in their pockets. 

Second Voice. — Four million people spending money for milk 
and bread and fuel and clothes. 

Third Voice. — Twenty million new dollars a week in circulation, 
changing hands, restoring confidence, moving goods. 

460 



NO HELP WANTED 



Fourth Voice. — The corner was turned, the long-promised 
comer. 

Fifth Voice. — To be sure, prosperity was not around that 
comer. 

Sixth Voice. — But the road to recovery was. 

Narrator. — The upswing began. The government maintained 
an average monthly employment of 2 million, making 
work for women as well as men, for professional, technical 
and other “white collar” workers as well as skilled and 
unskilled laborers. 

Second Narrator. — And in the meantime, the many other 
ramifications of relief went on. 

Music. 

Narrator. — In the hot and dry summer of 1934, the blasting, 
rainless winds again blew down across the high plains of 
middle America, scorching and shriveling the meager 
grass, blowing the topsoil into hideous unlivable dust 
storms, threatening the vast cattle herds of the West with 
starvation. 

Second Narrator. — Into this emergency the government 
stepped. 

Voice. — The Agricultural Adjustment Administration is hereby 
authorized to buy 6 million head of cattle from the ranges 
in the drought area. 

Second Voice. — Why? 

Voice. — To help the farmer and to feed the unemployed. 

Narrator. — And that summer, nearly 100 million potmds of 
fresh meat and over 200 million pounds of canned meat 
were distributed to vmemployed American citizens. 

Music. — Southern tune . . . quasi blues. 

Narrator. — Along the banks of the Mississippi River and 
East to the Appalachian Mountains and West into Texas 
lies the cotton belt of the American South. 

Here, for generations, plantation owners and tenant farmers 
have sown and planted and picked only one crop . . . 
cotton. 



461 



BEST BROADCAST S OF 1938-39 



Here the land is poor and tired. And so are the people. 
Here, for two decades, have existed a social and economic 
problem, an agricultural and a racial problem. 

And here, in the midst of the depression no one dared call 
a panic. Nature played a grim joke. Nature smiled on the 
poor South and gave her a bumper cotton crop. Again the 
embarrassment of riches, again the confusion of plenty. 

Voice. — And again the government acted. 

Second Voice. — Buy up aU the surplus cotton in the South. 
Stabilize the price. Don’t let the price of cotton drop. 

Third Voice. — But what will the government do with all this 
cotton ? 

Fourth Voice. — Put the relief workers to work making mat- 
tresses and quilts, which can be distributed to the un- 
employed. 

Narrator. — So the government was forced out of mattress 
making, but the cotton was used for the manufactiue of 
quilts. 

Music. — Bridge. 

Boy. — Well, I’m goin’, ma. 

Mother. — You’re going? Where? 

Boy. — I dimno, ma. Maybe I’ll head out West. . . . Maybe I 
can get a job out there. . . . 

Mother. — Bobbie, please don’t leave. 

Boy. — ^Listen, ma, I ain’t doin’ you any good here. A high school 
diploma doesn’t help you get jobs when there aren’t any. 

Mother. — Yes, Bobbie, but maybe things will be different soon. 

Boy. — Don’t look much like it . . . dad on relief, and you and 
him without enough to eat half the time. I got a lot of 
stomach to fill, ma ... so I’ll go find me a job somewhere. 

Mother. — Oh, Bobbie . . . you’re all I have. . . . 

Boy. — Now, ma, don’t start that again. ... I’ll keep in touch 
with you ... if I get to California, I’ll send you a picture 
postcard of Hollywood Boulevard . . . California. . . . I’ll 
bet it’s warm there. . . . 

462 



NO HELP WANTED 



Narrator. — Another recruit for the army of a million boys and 
young men aimlessly wandering from town to town, from 
city to city, looking for jobs. 

Voice. — But now the government steps in, and these transients 
disappear, first into the 250 temporary government camps 
and then into the CCC, the Civilian Conservation Corps, 
where they are fed, clothed, housed, and paid $30 a month. 

Second Narrator. — Half a million young men in 15 hundred 
camps. ... A volunteer army planting trees, building 
erosion dams, salvaging the soil that generations of Amer- 
icans had allowed to run to ruin. An army of half a million 
young men ... no longer standing idle at street corners or 
tramping the nation’s highways; an army fit and strong, 
helping with their wages their families on relief at home. 

Music. — Pastoral. 

Voice. — What about unemployment insurance. . . . What about 
the sick, the disabled ? 

Second Voice. — The Social Security Act was passed in May, 
1935, establishing what other countries have had for years 
. . . unemployment insurance, old age benefits, pensions. 
But that is another story. It is the story of the acceptance 
by the American people of principles which they had long 
opposed. Unemployment insurance and benefits for the 
aged are now within the accepted pattern of American life. 

Narrator. — Then in July, 1935, President Roosevelt defined the 
limits of Federal and local aid. 

Roosevelt. — Work must be found for able-bodied but imem- 
ployed workers. The Federal government must and shall 
quit this business of giving relief without work. 

Second Narrator. — Now the way was open for the program of 
the WPA, the Works Progress Administration, the gigantic 
plan to put Americans back to work. 

Voice. — Why should the government worry about the unem- 
ployed ? 

Second Voice. — Because where there are millions of unem- 
ployed, it becomes a national and not a local problem. 
Because it is doubtful, in a highly industrialized country 
like America, even when industry returns to normal produc- 

463 



BEST BROADCAST S OF 1938-39 

tion levels, that all the able-bodied unemployed will be 
able to find work all the time. 

Voice. — What’s to happen, then? 

Second Voice. — Possibly the permanent establishment of a 
Federal works program to function as a reserve labor pool 
for private industry. 

Voice. — Well, then, how does WPA work? 

Second Voice. — It works in 98 per cent of the projects in cooper- 
ation with the local or state and federal governments. Listen 
to this case of the little community of Crossroads, Ohio. . . . 

Sound. — Gavel. 

Mayor. — The Board of Selectmen of Crossroads will please 
come to order. 

Voices. — {Ad libs subside) 

Mayor. — Gentlemen, this special meeting was called to con- 
sider the Works Progress Administration, which has recently 
been established in Washington. 

Selectman. — What will it do for us ? 

Mayor. — Well, as I understand it, the government pays for the 
labor for local projects, and the local community furnishes 
the supplies. 

Second Selectman. — I can think of plenty of public works 
that we need, but we can’t afford them these days. 

Mayor. — That’s just the point. We can’t afford them, because 
we can’t afford to hire men. Now the government will pay 
for the labor. 

Selectman. — What unemployed labor is available in our town? 

Mayor. — Well, let’s look at the list. There are carpenters, brick- 
layers, painters, unskilled laborers, some stenographers, three 
real estate agents, a radio operator, a baker, a detective, a 
shirtmaker, and two teachers. . . . 

Selectman. — I can see where you can use those unskilled 
laborers, building roads, but what are you going to do with 
the shirtmaker and the radio operator ? 

Voices. — (Laughter) 

464 



NO HELP WA NTED 



Mayor. — We’re going to ask advice from the WPA adminis- 
trator, and somehow we’re going to build that new junior 
high school we’ve needed for years. . . . 

Music. — Bridge . . . indefinite. 

WPA Administrator. — Gentlemen, the WPA is pleased to 
approve your project for the construction of a new junior 
high school as well as the project for paving 12 blocks on 
Main Street. 

Selectman. — How much is it gonna cost ? 

WPA Administrator. — The labor cost will run around $20,000. 

Second Selectman. — Why, my sold alive, we haven’t got that 
much in the city treasury. 

WPA Administrator. — I said that was the labor cost. The 
government pays that. The cost to the city for the new school 
will represent building supplies. 

Voices. — {Ad libs) 

Selectman. — You mean we get a new junior high school for 
only $6,000? 

WPA Administrator. — That’s right. 

Second Selectman. — Well, it don’t seem possible. 

WPA Administrator. — Your street paving project will utilize 
35 more of your unemployed and will cost approximately 
$27,000 in labor, but the cost to the city will be only $5,000 
for supplies and material. 

Selectman. — Jehosophat . . . and that street’s needed paving 
for 10 years. . . . 

Second Selectman. — Yeah, but look here, young feller, you 
can’t put shirtmakers and that music teacher and these 
stenographers and other women to work paving streets. 

WPA Administrator. — That’s right, so we suggest a sewing 
project which will absorb most of them. 



Selectman. — What’ll you do with the stuff they sew? 

WPA Administrator. — Distribute it to the people on relief, to 
the very old and the very young. 

465 



BEST BROADCASTS OF 1938-39 



Second Selectman. — By golly, you fellers think of everything. 



Music. — Indefinite. 

Narrator. — Thus, in nearly every community in America, local 
officials sat down with the WPA administrators and drafted 
a works program to suit the needs of the community and the 
aptitudes of the unemployed. 

Second Narrator. — The entire plan of the WPA was unheard 
of, new, and revolutionary, and there were many who 
cried . . . 

Voice. — Un-American! Communistic! 

Narrator. — Because for the first time in the history of the 
nation, the skill of the worker was being considered as part 
of the national wealth. 

Yet, to protect private wage levels the WPA maintains 
established hourly minimum scales, but limits total monthly 
earnings to a family security income. 

Second Narrator. — And does not compete with private 
industry. . . . 

Voice. — The WPA encourages its workers to return to private 
industry when the opportunity appears. . . . 

Second Voice. — The worker who refuses to accept a fair offer in 
private industry faces immediate dismissal from WPA. 

Third Voice. — Yet WPA re-employs any worker within 90 days 
of his employment in private industry, should his job end 
through no fault of his own. 

Narrator. — Thus does the WPA work. 

Second Narrator. — Good. But what has it accomplished ? 

Voice. — This! 

Music. — Chord. 

Fourth Voice. — Roads and bridges. 

Narrator. — Over one-third of the entire WPA program is 
devoted to roads, streets, and bridges. The mileage of roads 
and streets newly built would reach ten times around the 
globe. 

466 



NO HELP WANTED 



Second Narrator. — Including nearly 245,000 miles of rural 
road. No longer are farmers isolated in bad weather. 

Music. — Chord. 

Second Voice. — Parks and playgrounds. 

Narrator. — A thousand playgrounds, 100 public golf courses, 
4,000 public tennis courts, 1,000 parks, 1,000 swimming 
pools, 1,000 grandstands, 500 gymnasiums. 

Music. — Chord. 

Second Voice. — Public buildings! 

Narrator. — Schools and libraries, stadiums, auditoriums, hos- 
pitals and jails, courthouses and city halls. 

Music. — Chord. 

Second Voice. — Water supply and sewage disposals. 

Narrator. — Reservoirs, storage tanks, and cisterns, with a 
total capacity capable of supplying a city of i million people 
for a year without replenishment. 

Second Narrator. — Four thousand miles of water mains and 
aqueducts; 6,000 miles of storm drains and sanitary sewers; 
243 sewage disposal plants; 60 water plants, 250 pumping 
stations. 

Voice. — To many a small American town, these projects meant 
the first adequate sanitary water and sewage system the 
town had ever possessed. 

Music. — Chord. 

Second Voice. — Aviation. 

Narrator. — One hundred and fifty landing fields with runways, 
landing light beacons; hangars and markers. 

Music. — Chord. 

Second Voice. — Education. 

Narrator. — Thirty-four thousand jobless teachers heading a 
class of a million and a half adults and 50,000 young chil- 
dren . . . and leading 100,000 more in forums, lectures, and 
open meetings. 



467 



5 



BEST BROADCASTS OF 1938-39 

Second Narrator. — A million illiterate Americans have 
mastered a practical knowledge of reading and writing 
through WPA classes. 

Voice. — More than 200,000 aliens have, through WPA classes, 
become candidates for American citizenship. 

Music. — Chord. 

Third Voice. — Health. 

Narrator. — Children’s clinics; tuberculosis hospitals; bus serv- 
ice for crippled school children; therapeutic baths; malaria 
mosquito control; school children’s lunches. 

Second Narrator. — A million persons receiving free treatments 
at 2,000 medical and dental clinics; 3,000 nurses making 
23^ million calls to the homes of the needy. 

Music. — Chord. 

Second Voice. — ^Libraries. 

Narrator. — Thirty-five hundred new branch libraries and 

4.000 reading rooms. More than 33 million books, recon- 
ditioned and repaired and returned to the use of the reading 
public. 

Music. — Chord. 

Second Voice. — Conservation. 

Narrator. — Fish hatcheries in California, game farms in Massa- 
chusetts, wild fowl refuges in Louisiana. 

Second Narrator. — Fire breaks in the parched moimtains of 
the West, wells and water holes in the desert, miles of 
levees along the great river of the South. 

Music. 

Voice. — Food and clothes. 

Narrator. — Ninety-five million shirts, dresses, and underwear 
made and distributed to the poor. 

Second Narrator. — Thirty-six million pounds of foodstuffs 
canned or preserved. 

Third Narrator. — Six hundred thousand pairs of shoes and 

900.000 pieces of furniture repaired. 

468 



NO HELP WANTED 

Music. 

Voice. — Historical records. . . . 

Second Narrator. — The WPA surveys America’s historic 
structures, draws their plans, photographs them, and this 
record remains in the Fine Arts Division of the Library of 
Congress, a permanent record, available at all times to the 
public. 

Music. 

Second Narrator. — Science and research! 

Third Narrator. — Colorado wants to know the number and 
needs of the crippled children in the state. 

Fourth Narrator. — The University of Florida wants to study 
the location of tropical storms by static. 

Fifth Narrator. — Connecticut wants to survey its prison 
facilities. 

Sixth Narrator. — In 1924 a study was made in New York of a 
control group of subnormal children. New York now wants 
to know what sort of adults they have become. 

Narrator. — In laboratories, WPA scientists study tuberculosis 
and silicosis. On street corners, they tabulate traffic. In 
museums, they build exhibits. On the tops of skyscrapers, 
they study the pollution of the air. 

Second Narrator. — WPA scientists have completed nearly 
2,000 surveys and studies since the government recognized 
their right to work and gave them back the opportunity. 

Music. 

Voice . — Recreation . 

Second Narrator. — To meet the modern problem of leisure, 
WPA has trained 34,000 recreational leaders to supervise 
gymnasiiuns and playgrounds for children, to operate camps 
and conduct classes in handicraft, so that today the general 
public spends more than 16 million hours per week in WPA 
recreation activities. 

Music. — Dvorak's Carnival Overture. 

Second Voice. — The arts! 



469 



BEST BROADCASTS OF 1938-39 



Narrator. — Across America, citizens are now hearing music 
who never before attended a concert, for 10,000 jobless 
musicians, organized into symphony orchestra, bands, and 
opera groups, are bringing great music to the people. 

Second Narrator. — More than a million people each month 
attend the productions of the Federal Theatre, a WPA 
project, a national theatre on a vast scale which has given 
new life to the American stage, to men who would otherwise 
be jobless. 

Music. 

Narrator. — Across America, the dingy walls of public buildings 
now are decorated with murals of the American scene. Bare 
public squares and gardens now are dignified with modem 
sculpture. Schools and institutions possess original American 
paints, the work of WPA artists. 

Narrator. — WPA writers are performing a gigantic task in the 
American Guide series. The 3,000 writers, editors, and 
research men have produced more than 250 valuable and 
badly needed volumes of information about America. 
{Pause) 

Music. — Tag background. 

Second Narrator. — There is still another service WPA pro- 
vides for the nation. . . . 

Voice. — WPA workers are the shock troops to fight disaster. . . 

Sound. — Thunder . . . rain . . . oscillator code. 

Second Voice. — {Filter) Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, river stage, 
46 feet rising. . . . 

{Code Jades) 

Sound. — Thunder. 

Third Voice. — Cincinnatti, Ohio ... 70 feet rising. . . . 

{Code Jades) 

Sound. — Thunder. 

Fourth Voice. — ^Louisville, Kentucky, river 10 feet above flood 
stage, rising . . . river rising. . . . 

{Code Jades) 



470 



NO HELP WANTED 



Sound. — Thunder. 

(Fade in) 

Voice. — Send a boat to 45 Breckinridge Street. . . . Fifty WPA 
workers needed at the emergency hospital in the Portland 
Street Library to evacuate patients. . . . Fifty WPA 
workers badly needed at the Portland Street Library 
(fading) to evacuate patients. . . . 

Second Voice. — (Filter) Hurricane warning . . . hurricane. 



Narrator. — WPA holds the levee against the angry flooded 
Mississippi. WPA fights the fires in the North woods. WPA 
cleans away the wreckage and the horror that follows the 
tropical hurricanes. WPA workers are indeed the shock 
troops of disaster. 

Music. 

Voice. — Such are the accomplishments of WPA. 

Second Voice. — And from an official survey, this report . . . 

Southerner. — ^Little towns that once confused weeds with 
shrubbery now have no weeds. Little towns that once 
endured barbaric sanitary conditions are now clean and 
free of pest holes. Little towns whose people once swallowed 
all of the dust that did not accumulate on store stocks and 
household furnishings now have no dust. And they are 
equally free of mud. Little towns that had no community 
house where the cultural spirit might have an outlet now 
have one. 

Little towns that had shabby city halls now have dig- 
nified city buildings. These are permanent gains. In the 
end it may be agreed that such gains offset the obvious 
losses of the worst depression that this republic has endured. 

Music. — Tag ... in and under. 

Narrator. — That is the story of the attempt of the American 
people to conquer unemployment, to find recovery from 
industrial disaster. Much has been done; much more 
remains. As conditions improve, the pendulum swings back. 
In Congress strong voices, powerful voices are beginning to 
cry “Economy; this spending must stop!’’ But the work 
goes on, and the achievements of the WPA will remain 



471 



BEST BROADCASTS OF 1938-39 

long after the depression which gave it birth becomes but a 
dim, sad memory. 

Music. 

Narrator. — Never will America live again those thoughtless, 
careless years of dlusionary prosperity, careless and callous 
to those who found themselves out of luck and out of work. 
The American people now know it is no longer a man’s own 
fault if he can find no work; they have learnt that a nation 
must look after its people. 

Music. — Up . . . resolve and out . . . s seconds pause . . . 
closing theme ... in and under announcer. 

Announcer. — You have just heard “No Help Wanted,” the 
story of American unemployment, directed and recorded 
by the New York office of the British Broadcasting Corpora- 
tion in association with Federal Theatre Radio Division 
of the Works Progress Administration. 

The players and the members of the orchestra were aU 
WPA workers. 

Leith Stevens composed the original score and conducted 
the Federal Music Project orchestra, and the entire produc- 
tion was written and produced by William N. Robson. 

Music. — Theme ... up to fill. 



472 



BEST UNITED STATES 
GOVERMENT SHOW 



We Become a Nation 

From What Price America 
hy Bernard Schoenfeld 

QOQQQQOQQQQQoaQQQppao.a aaooflflfiaaft a.fl..a.a aa flflgflflflflgaj 

T he past three years have seen a great change in the 
quality of broadcasting that the United States govern- 
ment has been doing. For years most of the programs 
consisted of interviews between an announcer and the 
head of one or another of the numerous government 
agencies, and, whereas these programs from time to time 
contained information that was of some benefit to the pub- 
lic, they also had the distinction to be the most inert bores 
on the air. There were no showmen in this branch of radio. 
There are some today, and what they have been able to 
do with the medium has been a very gratifying thing to 
watch. 

Three men deserve most of the credit for this change; 
John W. Studebaker, Commissioner of Education; Shannon 
Allen, Director of the Radio Division of the Department 
of Interior; and Morse Salisbury, Chief of the Division of 
Information, Department of Agriculture. Among them, 
they have corrected the two fundamental blunders that 
mar the work of most radio amateurs; they have stopped 
dramatizing material that is not dramatizable, and they 
have employed dramatists (not research men) to write 
their dramatic programs. 

This shift in policy occasioned an immediate reaction in 
performance. The broadcasts became shows, populated 
with believable people and sustained by emotional power, 
and many fine series resulted. Notable among these have 
been Let Freedom Ring, Treasures Next Door, The World 
Is Yours, Americans All — Immigrants All, Democracy in 



473 



BEST BROADCASTS OF 1938-39 

Action, Brave New World, Education in the News, and 
What Price America. For its sustained dramatic interest, 
for its power to transport the listener to the scene, for proper 
subordination of informative content to entertainment 
value, and for accuracy of research, the series What Price 
America represented the outstanding radio effort of the 
United States government last year. The series was 
written by Bernard Schoenfeld under the able supervision 
of Shannon Allen. Research material was compiled by 
Hugh Russell Fraser. One of the most intelligent and 
complete publicity setups in radio history supplied the 
public not only with copies of the broadcasts but with sup- 
plementary information about the immediate territories 
the listeners lived in. An average of 25,000 communica- 
tions were received and answered every week. 

Reprinted is the broadcast of February ii, 1939. The 
series was carried by 102 stations of the Columbia Broad- 
casting System. 



474 



We Become a Nation* 



JLSLSLSUULSJLSULOJULSLJLaJULaJLSLSlJLJlJi^^ 

Music. — Theme ... up and diminuendo . . . “America the 
Beautiful.” 

Voice. — {Dramatically) What Price America! 

Music. — Up . . . ominous and under. 

Second Voice. — {Calling above music) Plow up the soil! Plow up 
the soil! 

Third Voice. — {Calling above music) Dig into the ground. . . . 
Silver ! Gold ! Coal ! Copper ! Dig up the ground ! 

Fourth Voice. — {Calling above music) Chop down the trees! 
Destroy the forests ! Chop down the trees ! 

Music. — Dissonant chord and out sharply . . . pause. 

Voice. — {Dramatically) This waste must stop! 

Second Voice. — Waste must give way to conservation. 

Third Voice. — {Quietly, questioningly) But what is . . . 
conservation ? 

Voice. — The Department of the Interior is your agency of 
government charged with protecting and safeguarding the 
majority of your natural resources. 

Second Voice. — Harold L. Ickes, Secretary of that Department, 
has said, “Conservation is the wise use of those gifts of 
nature upon which we rely for support, comfort, and spiritual 
solace. Every natural resource must be made to serve man- 
kind while preserving all that is possible for the needs of 
future- generations ! 

Voice. — What is our obligation in this democracy to protect our 
heritage and the heritage of our children ? Listen to the story 
of our past. . . . Hear of our triumphs and failures. . . . 
Listen, America! 

* Copyright, 1939, by the Columbia Broadcasting System, Inc. 

475 



BEST BROADCASTS OF 1938-39 

Music . — Up and under . . . “New World Symphony” . . . 
first movement. 

Voice. — O hio . . . Illinois . . . Indiana . . . Michigan , . . 
Wisconsin . . . Minnesota . . . 265,500 square miles of 
American earth! Here flow the Mississippi, the Wabash, the 
Ohio. . . . Here is a treasure land Nature has bestowed 
upon America! Today a land . . . civilized . . . produc- 
tive . . . populated! Alive with the sound of the assembly 
line, the dynamo, the threshing machine! Today the cities 
of Chicago, Detroit, Milwaukee, Indianapolis, Cincinnati, 
St. Paul! Today . . . millions of farms, com and wheat, 
hogs and cattle! This is the 265,500 square miles lying 
between the state of Minnesota and the state of Illinois! 

Second Voice. — B ut yesterday? Only silence ... a wilder- 
ness . . . only the howl of a wolf deep in the forest. . . . 
This was the land known as the Northwest territory! 

Music . — Up and under. 

Voice. — I t is a gray afternoon in the fall of the year 1787. In 
the little village of Danford, Massachusetts, in the tavern 
of the Widow Stone, a group of farmers, carpenters, black- 
smiths and mill hands sit drinking their ale. . . . 

Music. — Out. 

Sound . — Murmuring of men . . . clinking of glasses. . . . 

First Man. — W idder Stone, your ale is like the day . . . cloudy! 

Widow. — W hen ye be able to pay me, ye kin complain! 

Second Man. — W e kin give you a pile of Continental paper 
bills? 

Widow. — T ush, I kindle my fire with Continentals! 

Third Man. — I can’t even kindle a fire with ’em. They’re too 
dirty. How ’bout yerself, Obediah? . . . Obediah Weeks, 
’tis harmful to sit and brood. 

Widow. — W hat’s ailin’ ye, Obediah? 

Second Man. — H e’s waitin’. 

Widow. — W aitin’ for what? 

476 



WE BECOME A NATION 



Fourth. — T he red flag hangs atop of his farm. The sheriff is 
cornin’ to take him any day now. 

Widow. — O bediah’s farm, too? Seems as how the whole blessed 
town is goin’ ter jail for debt. 

Sound. — Distant thundering. 

Obediah. — {Bitterly) Liberty . . . freedom. . . . 

Widow. — ^W hat ye say, Obediah? 

Obediah. — ^Liberty . . . freedom . . . flne soundin’ words! 
When we git back from fightin’ fer ’em, what do they do? 
Don’t give us our back pay 1 Promises they made us 1 Fightin’ 
fer ’em ! Dyin’ fer ’em ! And all the while they send {sneak in 
sound of rain) their gold to England to buy fancy dresses 
fer their wimmen an’ painted snuffboxes . . . an’ I sit 
here . . , waitin’ . . . waitin’. . . . {Pause) 

Widow. — {Quietly) ’Tis raining hard. . . . 

Sound. — Door opens . . . closes. 

Jared. — H ello, everybody. . . . 

Widow. — W ell, young Jared, you come from the mill early 
today I 

Jared. — {Young voice) Hello, Widder Stone! Where’s my 
brother! . . . Oh, there ye be, Obediah! Better come long 
home ! It’s begun to rain right smart. 

Obediah. — H ello, Jared. . . . Let it rain. Sit down, brother. 

First Man. — {Slowly) Today it’s Obediah’s. Tomorrow it’ll be 
my farm with a red flag flying. 

Jared. — S ome day the mills at Hampton will be closin’ down, 
and I’ll be out of work like you men. But then I’ll do somp- 
thin’! {Angrily) Yes, by the Lord God of Israel, all of ye 
men fought in the Revolution! Where’s your spunk! 

Obediah. — Y e’re a young ’im, Jared. Twenty-four. Wait till 
ye’re forty. 

Jared. — B ut why don’t ye all go out in the new lands and begin 
again ? Ain’t none of ye got grants of land ? 

First Man. — Poor men sell their grants. 



4-77 



BEST BROADCASTS OF 1938-39 

Second Man. — Ye got to buy land, Jared. But Congress has a 
law that says no one kin buy less than 640 acres ! 

Jared. — That land in Ohio belongs to all of us! It’s . . . called 
. . . called . . . Public . . . 

Third Man. — Yes, Public Domain, but you’ve got to hev 
enough money to buy 640 acres of it. 

Widow. — The gentleman cornin’ ’crost the yard kin buy 640 
acres. Look . . . see him skipping the puddles like an old 
granny! 

Man. — Jumping mackerel, it’s Squire McCrae. 

Jared. — Cornin’ here! In the rain? 

Widow. — Any time the Squire comes a- visitin’ my tavern, he’s 
got a bee buzzin’ ! 

Sound. — Door opens . . . closes. 

Squire. — Good afternoon, Widow Stone! 

Widow. — Dry yourself at the fire, sir. I’ll fetch ye . . . 

Squire. — No, I thank you. They told me that I could find a 
man here called Obediah Weeks. 

Widow. — That be Obediah Weeks, over there. 

Squire. — Farmer Weeks, I’m Squire McCrea. 

First Man. — F rom the width across yer waistcoat and yer five 
chins, they ain’t no need to introduce yerself. 

Voices. — (Laughter) 

Squire. — (Sternly) Keep still, man. I’m not addressing you. . . . 
(Unctuously) Weeks! 

Weeks. — Yes, sir,? 

Squire. — The Deacon tells me you plow the straightest furrow 
in this section. 

Obediah. — The Deacon should know. He’s got my farm 
mortgaged. 

Squire. — What is the extent of your debt to him? 

Obediah. — Eight pounds, five shillings, an’ fourpence. 

478 



IVE BECOME A NATION 



Squire. — If I were to pay it for you, would you be willing to go 
out to Ohio ? 

Voices. — {Excitement) 

Obediah. — I ... I don’t ketch yer drift, Squire. 

Squire. — I own two shares in the Ohio Land Company. Best 
investment in the world, these new lands out in the North- 
west. I have 2,000 acres. The company is starting a settle- 
ment out there in Ohio. I want a man to go out with them 
and clear a few acres, plant and raise crops, and build cabins. 

Jared. — Obediah kin do it, sir! I’m his brother, Jared, and I 
know he kin do it ! 

Obediah. — You . . . you will pay off my debt! I’ll be able to 
keep my farm here in Danford ? 

Squire. — Yes. Of course. I will pay you nothing from then on in 
Ohio imtil you have repaid me in work. 

Obediah. — Yes, sir, of course not, sir . . . thank ye . . . thank 

ye . . . ! 

Squire. — By the way, have all you men who were soldiers 
received your land grants from the Board of Treasury ? 

First Man. — We did. A hundred fine acres apiece. Had to sell 
’em ... to buzzards. . . . 

Squire. — Widow Stone, if you hear of any soldier wanting to 
sell his grant. I’ll buy it. 

Widow. — {Craftily) Aimin’ to settle out there in th’ wilderness. 
Squire ? 

Squire. — Me? Certainly not. 

Widow. — Jest sort of . . . fewyfn’ up land ? 

Squire. — Don’t forget. If you hear of any other man who needs 
ready money and wishes to sell his grant, let me know. 
Weeks, come to my house at 8 tonight for final instructions. 
Good-by. 

Sound. — Door opens . . . closes. 

Voices. — Ad lib excitement. 



479 



BEST BROADCASTS OF 1938-39 

Obediah. — I jest can’t believe it. . . . Now Martha and the 
children kin live on the farm with Jared. You’ll watch 
over Martha while I’m out there, Widder Stone ? 

Widow. — Don’t ye fret. . . . Ha, the Squire is a shrewd critter. 
Wantin’ ter buy all the land grants that the soljers git! 
And he’ll git ’em, too 1 For what man these days don’t need 
money right quick ? And the pity of it is that out there lies 
land for all of ye to buy ! 

Man. — Yes ... if ye kin buy 640 acres at a time. . . . 

Sound. — Thunder . . . crash. . . . 

Jared. — (Angrily) Go on an’ thunder! Thunder away! It’s how 
all of us be feelin’ right now! 

Music. — Up and out. 

Voice. — That night in the library of Squire McCrae the curtains 
have been drawn; the leather book bindings and the satin 
chairs reflect the soft candlelight. It is a few minutes before 
8, and the Squire sits with a guest. Representative Bingham 
from Pennsylvania. 

Bingham. — Beautiful furniture, Squire. 

Squire. — Sent from London, Representative Bingham. 

Bingham. — Y ou live in luxury. 

Squire. — Thanks to land companies like the Ohio Company. 
How many shares do you own ? 

Bingham. — N one. 

Squire. — What! A man of vision like yourself! 

Bingham. — (Sardonically) The Reverend Manassah Cutler 
called me the same when he tried to bribe me with a few 
shares in the company if I would vote in Congress to sell 
him the land in Ohio. I cast an opposite vote. I believe those 
lands in the Northwest should be settled by the small 
farmer. 

Squire. — You have been listening to Mr. Jefferson . . . too 
much. 

Bingham. — Would that we all listened to Mr. Jefferson . . . 
too much. The United States will regret the day that 
Congress ruled no land less than 640 acres could be sold. 

480 



WE BECOME A NATION 



Squire. — The treastiry needs revenue. Why not limit sales to 
640 acres ... or more ? 

Bingham. — The poor cannot afford 640 acres. {Ironically) Have 
you forgotten, Squire, that this is a democracy ? 

Squire. — {Smoothly) I was not even aware of that fact, sir. A 
democracy to me is a country where the crude farmer 
rubs elbows with the gentleman. 

Bingham. — And the gentleman buys up the land that is right- 
fully due the farmer ? 

Squire. — Sheer sentimentality, sir! 

Bingham. — Perhaps. But I wanted a law passed to develop that 
Northwest territory of Ohio into small units so that poor 
people might have the chance to settle. But Mr. Cutler and 
the other lobbyists of the Ohio Company were clever. I lost. 

Squire. — But, sir . . . Reverend Cutler is an ordained minister. 
General Rufus Putnam, another ofl&cer of the company, is 
beyond reproach. 

Bingham. — Then they have a broader concept than their . . . 
fellow shareholders ? 

Squire. — I am a fellow shareholder. 

Bingham. — Have you not bought your land for speculation ? 

Squire. — Most certainly. 

Bingham. — You answer honestly, and so I see you will not take 
offense at what I say. 

Squire. — I am thick-skinned. 

Bingham. — Cutler and Putnam should not have sold you these 
lands. 

Squire. — I see I must defend those men. In a month, Putnam 
and 45 others will take a boat and sail down to the Musaqum 
River to their settlement in Ohio. They will organize 
counties and townships; they will spend time and patience 
and money in building up civilized communities where men 
may start new lives and worship God as they please. To do 
this the Ohio Company had to sell stock in their million 
and a half acres. 



481 



BEST BROADCASTS OF 1938-39 

Bingham. — To speculators like yourself? 

Squire. — Men like myself are of as lasting importance to the 
future of America as is your rabble who cannot buy land on 
which to dwell ! 

Bingham. — No. You buy up land which you do not intend to 
use! You buy only to sell at an exorbitant price! You are 
setting a precedent! In years to come, unscrupulous men 
will continue to buy up huge areas of land from Congress, 
but will they wish to settle on it or help America grow? No! 
They will buy land to exploit! Land sharks, swindlers, 
wasteful and greedy men will be able to buy all the land 
they wish because you have set a precedent! The few will 
possess what the many should own ! 

Squire. — The few should possess . . . all! 

Bingham. — B y heaven, sir, no! 

Squire. — (A shrug in his voice) Blame Congress, of which you 
are a member. 

Bingham. — I do. Congress has adopted a dangerous land policy, 
and it will suffer the consequences, as I fear, all of us shall! 
{Pause) 

Squire. — {Dryly) Your pipe is out, sir. More tobacco? 

Bingham. — Thank you. 

Sound. — Door opens . . . closes. 

Servant. — {Woman) Squire McCrae, there is a person . . . 

Squire. — Oh, yes. Farmer Weeks. . . . Send him in. 

Servant. — Yes, sir. 

Sound. — Door opens . . . closes. 

Squire. — A country bumpkin. ... I have a task for him. 

Bingham. — I see. 

Squire. — More Madeira? 

Bingham. — No, thank you. 

Sound. — Door opens . . . closes. 

Squire. — Well, come in, come in. Are your shoes clean? 

482 



WE BECOME A NATION 



Obediah. — Yes, sir. I brought my young brother, Jared, if you 
do not . . . 

Jared. — May I stay, sir? 

Squire. — You may stay. Now, Farmer Weeks, you will leave in 
a fortnight for Trenton. You will see my land agent, who 
wiU hand you over to General Putnam, with whose party 
you will go to Ohio. Here in this envelope are my instruc- 
tions. Can you read ? 

Obediah. — {With quiet anger) Yes, sir! 

Squire. — Good. The General has hired three more men, who 
will assist you out there. You will be in charge. Clear about 
loo acres. . . . Dig a well. . . . Clear the springs. . . . 
Plan the best acres for habitation. . . . Observe what the 
soil will grow. ... I shall be out there in a few months. 
That is all. 

Obediah. — Yes, sir. Thank ye. I can’t tell ye what it means to 
be free of debt ... to hev my own place again in Danford 
fer Martha and . . . 

Squire. — Work hard. Good-by. 

Obediah. — Good-by. 

Jared. — Good-by, Squire. 

Sound. — Door opens . . . closes. 

Squire. — The best farmer in these parts. I’m sending him with 
the party to clear my land and determine the agricultural 
value of the soil. 

Bingham. — He looks bright. 

Squire. — As farmers go, yes, 

Bingham. — He is made of the stuff our country will thrive on. 



Squire. — What a man of sentiment you are, sir! Look, have 
you seen my miniatures? Remarkable paintings! I bought 
them from the Count de Vaudrac {board fade) of Paris. 
They cost me a pretty penny ! 

Music. — Up and out. 



4S3 



BEST BROADCASTS OF 1938-39 

Voice. — The fall of 1788. A year later. In the small farmhouse 
of Obediah Weeks in Danford, three people listen to a 
letter being read by Obediah’s wife, Martha. Aroimd the 
table sit Aunt Sophie and Jared and Jared’s young wife, 
Emily. Martha reads on. 

Martha. — {Reading) . . . “Jineral Putnam won’t let wimmin 
be out here yit . . . and even if they could come, I won’t 
be hevin’ ye come to this Godforsaken spot, Marthy. Onct 
the Injuns attacked us, but we chased them. There be 
90 of us here now. We call the town Marietta. I got four 
men a-workin’ on pertaters and com, and the soil be real 
fine fer plantin’. I’m glad, Marthy, ye kin hold yer head 
above water and make the farm go so good, now that the 
Widder Stone is partners. Give a big kiss to Aunt Sophy. 

I j 

Sophia. — Shucks ! 

Martha. — {Reading) . . . “And tell Emily, that young bride 
of Jared, I wish I could meet her. Tell my brother, Jared, 
I’m happy he’s still workin’ in the mill. God bless ye and 
keep ye. Your loving husband, Obediah Weeks.’’ {Snifs) I 
wish I could go out to him. Aunt Sophia. 

Sophia. — Land sakes, look at Jared! What a funny look in yer 
face! 

Jared. — I’m jest a-thinkin’. 

Martha. — Wish I could help Obediah out there. 

Jared. — No, yer place is here, Marthy, taking care of the farm. 
Yer husband will be coming back some day, and ye’ll have 
a fine farm fer ’im. {Pause) You wimmin will have lots t’do 
. . . when I’m gone. 

Martha. — You go? 

Sophia. — Go where! 

Emily. — J ared . . . what do you mean ? 

Jared. — I s’pect I’m . . . kind o’ restless. . . . 

Sophia. — I’ll put a cat-o’-nine-tails to yer, Jared Weeks, as old 
as ye be, if you don’t speak up ! 

Jared. — The . . . the mill closed down today. 

484 



WE BECOME A NATION 



Martha. — Oh ! 

Sophia. — S’pected it right along. 

Emily. — Jared! 

Jared. — I want to go west to Ohio and make a home to bring 
ye to, Emily. 

Emily. — No, Jared, no! 

Sophia. — He’s jest talkin’. Hasn’t a penny and wants to buy 
land! 

Jared. — I ain’t reck’nin’ on buy’n’ land. I’m goin’ out with 
lo other men from Danford and squat. 

Emily. — What’s he mean. Aunt Sophia! 

Sophia. — Sum folk jest get a team of oxen an’ their belongin’s 
and git out to the Northwest an’ pick a plot of ground an’ 
start squatting. . . . 

Martha. — The government won’t let ye do that ! 

Jared. — Government! Will they let us buy a few acres of land 
to call our own? No! I’ll jest go out and squat. 

Emily. — I won’t let ye go, Jared! 

Martha. — I need ye to help me with the farm, Jared! 

Jared. — But, Marthy, ye got Widder Stone as partner. A good 
thing when she sold the tavern and bought half the farm. 
She’s got a head, the widder. No, I want to go out there and 
try my luck ! 

Emily. — Git work here! 

Jared. — Half the town is starvin’, and ye know it! 

Emily. — Then I’U go with you! 

Martha. — No, Emily! 

Jared. — I’ll be sending fer you in a year or two. 

Emily. — I won’t be having you go alone! 

Sophia. — My mother come all the way from Wales in a 40-foot 
boat and then helped my father chop down th’ trees that 
built half of Danford. Let Emily go if she wants. 



1 



BEST BROADCASTS OF 1938-39 

Jared. — S he can’t take th’ risk! 

Emily. — I love ye, Jared! I’m your wife! Where ye go, I go! 

Jared. — T rue, there’s other wimmen coming. Nathan Wood- 
bridge’s sister an’ Ezra Hamlin’s wife an . . . 

Emily. — T hen I go! 

Sophia. — (Slowly) Don’t know what good I’m gonna be in 
Danford since people ain’t got money to buy my cakes and 
tarts. Might jest as well go along and look ater you children. 

Martha. — A imt Sophia, don’t ye git crazy notions. 

Sophia. — C razy, huh? I kin drive a team of oxen better’n Jared. 
You don’t need me, Marthy. These youngen’s need me. 

Jared. — W e kin git a wagon and oxen! Emily! Aunt Sophia! 
Start putting together what we need! You’ll see! We’ll git 
out there! I’m going to talk to Nathan Woodbridge right 
now! 

Martha. — S quatters . . . jest squatters. . . . Don’t like the 
word. 

Jared. — W hat else kin a poor man do if he wants land ? Emily, 
I’ll be back in an hour! 

Sound . — Door opens . . . closes. 

Sophia. — Y ou got spunk, Emily, goin’ with ’im now. 

Emily. — I’ m glad you’re cornin’ with us. 

Martha. — W hy . . . why won’t you stay here, Aimt Sophia ? 

Sophia. — W ell . . . er . . . you see, Marthy . . . Emily and 
me have a little secret. Even Jared don’t know yit. I think I 
better go with ’em . . . ’cause . . . Emily’s goin’ ter have 
a baby. . . . 

Music . — Up and over. 

Voice. — I n March, 1789, five women and fifteen men leave 
Danford, riding out in wagons and on horseback for Ohio. 
One night in May the party is high in the hills of Pennsyl- 
vania. A campfire is burning. Jared Weeks stands alone with 
Aunt Sophia. 

Sound . — Camp sounds. 

486 



WE BECOME A NATION 



Jared. — A unt Sophia, are ye sure she’s all right ? 

Sophia. — S hucks, ’tain’t the first time and ’twon’t be the last ! 

Jared. — {Wildly) If she dies ! 

Sophia. — N ow, now Jared . . . (Calling) Nate Woodbridge! 

WooDBRiDGE. — (Off) Yes, Auntie! (On) What is it? 

Sophia. — T ell this young cub not to go on frettin’. 

Woodbridge. — E mily will be all right, Jared. 

Jared. — B ut it’s so dark here ... so wild . . . and cold. . . . 
She would have had attention back in Danford. 

Sound. — Frightened whinny of horses. 

Jared. — W hat’s that 1 

Sophia. — S hucks, it’s only the horses. Mebbe they sniff a wolf. 

Jared. — W hy don’t it happen? 

Woodbridge. — H ere comes my sister, Betsy. . . . Well, Betsy? 

Betsy. — N ow don’t ye worry, Jared, it will all be over soon. 

Jared. — W e should’ve stayed home! We shouldn’t hev come. 
... I should’ve waited till I saved some money and try to 
buy land instead of cornin’ with ye all jest squattin’ . . . 
squattin’ . . . where? 

Woodbridge. — W e’ll find a valley near a river, and we’ll make 
clearin’s and build our cabins. Crops will grow. There’ll be 
a cool river bubblin’ near by. . . . 

Sophia. — I t’ll be dandy, Jared. 

Jared. — A nd if the government won’t let us stay there? 

Betsy. — W e’ll fight to stay! We got rights like others, and if we 
got spunk enough to go out there . . . we’ve got spunk 
enough to stay there. 

Woodbridge. — S ix months from now there’ll be smoke pourin’ 
out of the chimneys, and others’ll come from the East and 
squat near by, and it’ll be pliunb neighborly. 

Jared. — I’ m skeered. Never was skeered before. . . . 

Sound. — Murmuring of men drawing near. . . . 



487 



BEST BROADCASTS OF 1938-39 

Betsy. — I’ ll go see how she is. 

Sophia. — W ait, Betsy. Here come the others. There’s Mrs. 
Jamison cornin’ out of the wagon! 

Jared. — M rs. Jamison! Mrs. Jamison! How’s my wife? 

Mrs. Jamison. — {Hesitantly) The . . . the baby’s fine. A . . . 
a fine boy ! 

Jared. — H ow’s Emily! Tell me . . . how’s Emily! {Pause) 
What’s the matter? . . . What ye all turnin’ yer heads 
away fer? {With a scream) No! No! 

WooDBRiDGE. — Stiddy, Jared . . . stiddy! 

Sophia. — L et him cry. It takes a real man to cry. 

Mrs. Jamison. — ^W e ... we did all we could, Jared. 

Jared . — {Low . . . wearily) Mebbe it was jest as well. 

Sophia. — J ared! 

Jared. — W ell, mebbe it was! What are we! Jest squatters! 

WoODBRIDGE. StOp, SOn! 

Jared. — T he better she is dead. Havin’ to live like this . . . 
like we was beggars! Ain’t we willin’ t’ make homes out 
there, t’ buy land, t’ bring our families . . . our wives . . . 
our {he breaks) . . . Emily . . . Emily. . . . 

Sophia. — AU of ye . . . kneel. . . . {Pause) Dear God, you 
have taken from our midst a young girl we all loved, Emily, 
wife of young Jared. Thy will be done. . . . 

Mrs. Jamison. — {Low) The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh 
away. . . . 

Sophia. — B ut we thank you, dear God, for a fine boy child this 
night. {Distant faint cry of a baby) Watch over him. Watch 
over Jared, his father, and give him strength to start a new 
life. Some folks have the wherewithal to live comfortably 
all the days of their lives. Others like us ain’t got a Conti- 
nental. We pray to you to bring us into green pastures. 
Let your divine light shine down on us so that we kin be 
brave to face whatever hardships we got to. Make us spunky 
and wise so that our children’s children kin be proud of what 
we’re doin’. . . . Amen! 

488 



WE BECOME A NATION 



All. — A men. . . . 

Music . — Up and out. 

Martha. — {Tearfully) You finish readin’ the letter from Aunt 
Sophia, Widder Stone. Me eyes ... be kind o’ blurred. 
What does Sophia say next ? 

Widow Stone. — W ell, Marthy, she goes on to say. . . .’ Let’s 
see {reading) . . . “It’s been a year since we left Danford. 
Jest think of it . . . 1790 already! We’re squattin’ in Ohio 
near the Hocking River. . . . we’ve built us a fort and 
20 cabins and planted our crops. . . . The corn is high as 
your head. . . . Jared is the leader of our little colony. . . . 
He works harder and later than any other man. ... You 
wouldn’t know him, he’s so different since Emily passed on. 
. . . Onct or twice we’ve been pestered by Injuns, and two 
of our men most died but didn’t. . . . Obediah, your 
husband, is cornin’ West to visit us. He lives at Marietta, 
about 90 miles away, on the Muskingum River. It’s the 
Ohio Company’s settlement and is fast turning into a real 
town with purty trees and a real livin’. All we got is cabins, 
but we do our best, and God {hoard fade) watches over us all. 

Music . — Up and out. 

Voice. — S ix months later . . . the fall of the year 1790 . . . 
at the settlement of Marietta, Ohio. Arthur St. Clair, 
governor of the Northwest territory, sits at a desk in his 
simple frame house. He is writing. There is a knock on the 
door. 

Sound . — Knock at door. 

St. Clair. — C ome in. 

Sound . — Latch raised . . . door opened . . . closed. 

Squire. — G overnor St. Clair ? 

St. Clair. — Y es, sir. 

Squire. — I am Squire McCrae, from Danford, Massachusetts. 

St. Clair. — H ow do you do, sir! . . . and . . . why, hello, 
Obediah Weeks! How are you? 

Obediah. — F air to middlin’, governor. The Squire come here 
2 days ago to look over his land. . . . 



489 






BEST BROADCASTS OF 1938-39 

St. Clair. — Y ou intend to settle here now? 

Squire. — O h, no. I am not suited to pioneer life. 

St. Clair. — {Coldly) I see. 

McCrae. — I came to congratulate you on the astounding way 
in which you and General Putnam have turned a wilderness 
into a paradise of . . . 

St. Clair. — {Curtly) Come, come. Squire, surely a log fortress 
and a row of houses does not constitute a paradise ? 

McCrae. — A figure of speech. 

St. Clair . — 111 chosen, eh, Obediah? I trust you found your 
land thriving? Obediah has done well. He has cleared 200 
acres, leveled much of the ground; plowed it; built cabins. 
Why, one might have thought that your property was 
Obediah’s. 

McCrae. — Y es . . . ah . . . Obediah is leaving today. 

St. Clair. — W hat ! But why ? 

Squire. — H is work is done. The Deacon Halssop will have his 
men come out here and . . . 

St. Clair. — D eacon . . . ? 

McCrae. — A friend of mine. He is buying the property on my 
return to Massachusetts. 

St. Clair. — A nd will he come out here to settle ? 

McCrae. — T he Deacon? Heavens, no! He has his dry goods 
emporium to watch over in Boston. 

St. Clair. — T hen he . . . like yourself . . . buys for spectdation ! 

McCrae. — T he Deacon knows that my property will be worth 
five times as much within a few years. As it is, I make a neat 
profit. The only reason I sell is because I have bought so 
much land that I wish to be freed of some of it. . . . You 
frown, governor? 

St. Clair. — {Coldly) I do not like the Deacon, sir, and, what is 
more, I do not like others of his ilk. Good day. Squire. 
{Pause) 

Squire. — G ood day. Come, Obediah. 

490 



WE BECOME A NATION 



Obediah. — Y es, Squire. 

St. Clair. — S tay a moment, Obediah. I wish to speak to you. 

Squire. — {Commandingly) Come, Obediah. 

St. Clair. — {Bristling) There is no slavery, here, sir! Every 
man is his fellow’s equal ! Perhaps Obediah wishes to remain 
here for a moment ? {Pause) 

Squire. — I will see you by the meeting house. Farmer Weeks. 

Obediah. — Y es, Squire. 

Sound. — Door opens . . . closes. 

St. Clair. — T hank heaven there are not too many shareholders 
in our Company like your good Squire! You have spent 2 
years taking care of his land, and now he ships you off home ! 
Did he pay you well ? 

Obediah. — A few pounds and my horse to return to Danford. 

St. Clair. — ^W e will miss you. You leave today? 

Obediah. — F irst I go to my young brother, Jared, and his baby. 
He is 90 miles from here ... on the Hocking River. 

St. Clair. — W hat settlement is that ? The military district ? 

Obediah. — N o, sir. He . . . he . . . and 40 others are . . . 
jest livin’ there. 

St. Clair. — S quatters! 

Obediah. — Y es, sir. 

St. Clair. — D o they know that the government forbids such 
practices ! 

Obediah. — Y es, sir. 

St. Clair. — Y ou had better warn your brother, Obediah. The 
government has issued a decree that all squatters be com- 
manded by force to move on. Only yesterday I spoke to 
Lieutenant Forbes, who has been sent here with 10 men to 
order squatters off our property. If he should learn that 
only 90 miles away ... I do not tattle, Obediah. But 
others may learn of the settlement. 

Obediah. — Y es, sir. 



4QI 



BEST BROADCASTS OF 1938-39 

St. Clair. — G ood-by and good luck. You say your home is 
Danford ? 

Obediah. — Y es, sir. 

St. Clair. — I shall recommend while you are gone that the 
government give you land here in Marietta for you and your 
family. Would you like that? 

Obediah. — I’ ve come to feel like this was my home. My wife, 
Marthy, wotdd like it, too. 

St. Clair. — B y next year women can come out. You’ll hear 
from me. 

Obediah. — T hank you, governor. 

St. Clair. — A nd warn your brother. 

Obediah. — Y es, sir. . . . Good-by. . . . 

Sound. — Door opens . . . closes. 

Music. — Up and out. 

Voice. — T wo weeks later in the sunlit cabin of Jared Weeks. 
On the earth floor sit a group of settlers. Jared and Obediah 
stand by a crude table. 

Men. — {Ad libbing, discussing . . . low . . .) 

Tared. — Y e men heerd my brother Obediah’s words. What ye 
think? 

Man. — C ongress won’t listen to us ! 

Second Man. — W hat you propose to do is foolishness ! 

Sound. — Baby crying. 

Sophia. — Y es, baby. . . . Yes . . . yes. . . . 

Jared. — W hat do you say, Nate Woodbridge? 

WooDBRiDGE. — I think Obediah’s right when he says we ought 
to petition Congress to change the land law. 

Jared. — I s’pect so. Let’s write it out, and when you git to 
Philadelphia, Obediah, you kin give it to the postmaster. 
He’ll send it to Congress. 

Sophia. — H ere’s fresh ink I jest made. Got the quill ? 

492 



WE BECOME A NATION 



Jared. — Y es. . . . Now let’s see. . . . {To himself as he writes) 
Members . . . of . . . Congress. . . . {Board Jade) A peti- 
tion . . . from . . . 48 . . . settlers. . . . 

Jared . — {Fading in) Here’s the last part! {Reading) “We assure 
you we don’t like to criticize you gentlemen of Congress, 
but there ought t’ be a land policy for rich and poor alike. 
We don’t like t’ be squatters, but we kin do nothin’ else. 
We htunbly ask that you pass a law lettin’ folks like us be 
able to buy small parcels o’ land so we kin hev the protec- 
tions of the government agin Injuns. Some of us fought in 
the war fer freedom, an’ we think Congress shouldn’t be 
forgettin’ so quick. The council of the settlement of Emily 
ask that this law be passed at the next session, and we here- 
with sign our names.’’ . . . WeU, men, how is it? 

Men . — {Voices in agreement) 

Obediah. — T hat’s good, Jared. You sign yer name first. 

Jared. — T here! . . . Now you, Nate Woodbridge. . . . 

Man. — T here’s my name ! 

Second Man. — A nd mine . . . you next. Aunt Sophia ! 

Sophia. — G ood. 

Third Man. — T here’s mine ! 

Sound . — Horses galloping in distance. 

Jared. — A ll the councilmen signed? Good! Now let’s . . . 

Sound . — Door opened and slammed quickly. 

Sophia. — ^L and’s sake, what’s up! 

Fourth Man. — {Breathlessly) Folks, there be sojers comin! 

Men . — {Voices ad lib excitement) 

Jared. — C ome, men, let’s welcome them out in the clearin’ ! 

Sound . — Door opened . . . men running out . . . galloping draws 
closer. 

Sophia. — S hucks, there’s only five of ’em ! 

Woodbridge. — T hey got guns! 

Sophia. — D on’t be addled ! They ain’t goin’ t’ shoot us ! 

493 



BEST BROADCASTS OF 1938-39 



Sound. — Galloping nearer. 

Lieutenant. — (Shouting) Halt ! 

Sound. — Horses come to stop. 

Jared. — Hallo! 

Lieutenant. — Who is the leader of this settlement ? 

Sophia. — Speak yer piece, Jared. 

Jared. — I be. I’m Jared Weeks. 

Lieutenant. — This property belongs to the government. You 
can’t settle here. 

Jared. — We’re here, ain’t we? 

Obediah. — Ye be Lieutenant Forbes, ain’t ye? Remember me 
from Marietta ? I’m Obediah Weeks. 

Lieutenant. — (Pleasantly) I do remember you. Farmer Weeks. 
What are you doing here ? 

Obediah. — I come to see my brother. 

Lieutenant. — Well, tell your brother that he had better be off 
this property in a month. 

Jared. — We ain’t gittin’ off! 

Lieutenant. — (Politely) I don’t mean to argue with any of you. 
I only have my orders. I’U be back with my men in a month. 
If you’re stiU here. I’ll have to force you to leave. 

Men. — (Ad lib angry voices) 

Woodbridge. — (Sarcastically) Gonna bum us out or shoot us 
down ? 

Lieutenant. — Don’t take that attitude, man. It’s none of my 
doing. 

Sophia. — Where kin we go ? 

Lieutenant. — Back where you came from. Or else save some 
money and buy land like decent people. 

Sophia. — (Angrily) Decent! We’re law-abidin’. God-fearin’ folks, 
every one of us ! We got a little church we built and a meeting 
house, and we’ve made laws we stand by. That’s more than 
kin be said fer most people ! 



494 



WE BECOME A NATION 



Lieutenant. — I’ m sorry, ma’am. I’ll be back in a month. 
{Calling) All right, men ! Back to Marietta ! 

Sound . — Horses galloping off — into distance. 

Jared. — {Shouting) Ye’ll find us all here when ye come back! 

Sophia. — H ush, Jared! 

Jared. — {Shouting) Ye ain’t turnin’ us out! 

Obediah. — {Quietly) It’s the law. 

Jared. — P ublic domain fer us all ! No ! It’s public domain for them 
who kin pay! 

Obediah. — Y ou kin stay here no longer. That’s final. 

Jared. — {Wearily) We was cornin’ along so nice . . . gardens 
planted and a fort half built. . . . 

Obediah. — F orget it. 

Sound . — Baby crying. 

Sophia. — P oor baby. . . . 

Jared. — M ebbe by the time the youngen grows up, he kin buy 
some land . . . jest enuf t’live on out here and be happy. 

Obediah. — I’ ll go back with you all to Danford. 

Jared. — N o! I’m not going back! I’m going to stay out here in 
the Northwest! 

Man. — N o ... I won’t do the same thing again! Clear trees 
. . . build cabins . . . fight Injtms . . . freeze. . . . No! 

Sophia. — I’ m with ye, Jared! 

Voices . — {Ad lib disagreement) 

Jared. — W ait for me, wait! {Pause) We wanted t’ come out here 
to the new land and open it up. . . . Now if Aunt Sophia 
be willin’ t’ go out yonder still further . . . an’ I’m willin’ 
fer my baby to grow up out there where it’s new and free 
and the ground be tender to livin’ things . . . then ye 
should all be willin’. Mebbe they’ll find us again and force 
us off. . . . Mebbe we’ll just be wanderers on this land we 
can’t buy . . . but I say, let’s not go back. Are you with 
me! 



495 



BEST BROADCASTS OF 1938-39 
Men . — {All cry agreement) 

Jared. — G ood! We’ll start with the wagons next week! 
Obediah. — 1 ’U be starting off for Danford now, Jared. 

Jared. — W ait a day more. 

Obediah. — T he horse is saddled. . . . Nate, get my horse fer 
me, please. 

Sophia. — G ive our love to the folks in Danford. Tell ’em we 
wish them well. 

Obediah. — G ive me the petition. I’U put it in my knapsack. . . . 
There. . . . Well, Jared . . . 

Jared. — Y ou’ll be getting ground from Governor St. Clair. 
Ye’U be a real Ohio farmer in Marietta. 

Obediah. — Y e kin live with us in Marietta. 

Jared. — N o, thanks. 

Obediah. — T hen good-by, Jared. 

Jared. — G ood-by, Obediah. 

Obediah. — G ood-by, baby. . . . He looks kind o’ like . . . 
Emily. 

Jared. — Y es. 

Obediah. — H ere’s a kiss. Aunt Sophia. 

Sophia. — {Tearfully) Good-by, Obediah! Bless you and Marthy! 
Sound . — Ojff horse. 

Woodbridge. — H ere’s your horse, Obediah! Up with you! 

Obediah. — Q uiet, Flossy, quiet! We got a long way to go. . . . 
There! Good-by, all of you! 

Voices . — {Ad lib good-bys) 

Obediah. — G iddap ! 

Sound . — Horse galloping away . . . pause. 

Jared. — (A s sound grows faint) Funny . . . how the land kin 
change the lives of folks ... all of us likin’ this Northwest 
. . . Squire McCrae scheming to git it ter speculate . . . 

496 



WE BECOME A NATION 



Obediah achin’ ter hev a farm out here ter plant things on 
. . . and us wantin’ land for a home. . . . Funny, the land 
out here is s’posed to belong to us all . . . but you certainly 
wouldn’t know it. . . . 

Sound . — Baby crying. 

Sophia. — Y es, baby . . . yes, don’t cry. . . . Don’t cry. . . . 

Jared. — {Assuredly) This is our home now fer good. 

Music . — Up and out. 

Voice. — T hus did men like Jared and his comrades make possible 
the treasure land that is the state of Ohio today. They 
watched over the natural resources of Ohio carefully, but 
those who followed violated the law of nature! Down came 
the trees! Into the rivers ran the valuable topsoil! Greed 
and waste! No thought of conservation! Now . . . today 
... in the very same territory in which our story has 
taken place, Ohio citizens are wisely looking at the mis- 
takes of the past and planning for the future! Conserva- 
tion is a familiar word to the citizens of the Muskingum 
Valley. They have helped the Department of the Interior 
to fight those destructive forces . . . flood and erosion. 
The Muskingum Watershed Conservacy District, 8,000 
square miles of land, is a gigantic Ohio Conservation project. 
Fourteen dams have been constructed on Ohio streams, 
and, even at this minute, as the Ohio River is sending its 
spring flood, these projects are proving of far-reaching 
benefits. The government and the Ohio farmers work hand 
in hand in this Muskingum program to reforest timber- 
lands and rehabilitate eroded soil. Here is conservation! 
Here is the American spirit that brought Jared and his 
comrades through hardships and suffering to bring great- 
ness to Ohio. Conservation must be the twentieth century 
American ideal! We must plan to use our natural resources 
for the good of all ! Look to the future, America ! 

Music . — Up and out. 

Voice. — H ere is a special announcement. . . . Listen carefully. 



Second Voice. — Every listener to this program may have a 
free publication packed full of interesting information 
about our country’s natural wealth. It is a publication 



497 



BEST BROADCASTS OF 1938-39 



which every man, woman, and child in America should 
have. Send for your free copy now. Address What Price 
America, Washington, D.C., and this free publication will 
be sent to you at once. Let me repeat, if you want this 
important booklet, just send your name and address ... a 
postcard will do ... to What Price America, Washington, 
D. C. 

Voice. — Next week at this same time, the Department of the 
Interior, in cooperation with the Columbia Network, pre- 
sents the third program of the series. What Price America. 
Listen next week to What Price America. 

Music . — Up and out. 



498 



BEST VERSE EXPERIMENT 



Seems Radio Is Here to Stay 

hy Norman Corwin 

UULO-RiULRJLflJUUULO-O^ a.g-g-Q.g..a.g fl fl .g.O O-g-gJLO-fl 

R adio’s acquisition of Norman Corwin has brought to 
. the industry one of the most surprising talents in the 
entire field of present-day broadcasting. In the space of 
fifteen months he has established himself as one of the 
truly creative directors in the business and has at the same 
time written and directed and adapted more first-class 
program material than anyone else in radio’s history, that 
is to say, more than anyone else in an equal period of time. 
Although he is at present only twenty-eight years of age, he 
had had a considerable record of accomplishment prior to 
his entering radio. At one time or another he had been sports 
editor of the Greenfield (Mass.) Recorder, radio editor of 
the Springfield (Mass.) Republican, and director of the 
radio bureau of Twentieth Century Fox. In between times 
he had published two volumes of verse. 

In the past year and a half he inaugurated a new series 
of programs (Words without Music) which has revolu- 
tionized the presentation of poetry on the air. He has given 
to poets a new flexibility of format so vigorous and so 
sensible that it is bound to attract many new writers to the 
business of broadcasting. His original verse drama, “They 
Fly through the Air with the Greatest of Ease,’’ was con- 
sidered by the Tenth Institute for Radio in Education to 
be the finest single broadcast of the year. His skillful 
adaptation of Stephen Vincent Benet’s “John Brown’s 
Body’’ was another superior contribution. The piece of his 
which I have selected to reprint became the inspirational 
source for a whole series of half hour originals that appeared 
under the title, “So This Is Radio.” Two of his pieces 
have already appeared in book form, and negotiations to 
convert certain others into motion picture “shorts” are in 
progress. 



499 



BEST BROADCASTS OF 1938-39 

He has written a short statement regarding the genesis 
and development of “Seems Radio Is Here to Stay.” It 
should be of interest to the student and to any of those who 
are curious about an author’s method of approach, his 
habits of work, and the attitudes authors have toward their 
own work. Here is what he said. 

“ Seems Radio Is Here to Stay” is an example of a script made 
to order on short notice. I would like to say that it was inspired 
by noble ideals and sentiments concerning radio which I carry 
around with me daily, but this would be somewhat of an exag- 
geration. Actually it was inspired by the campaign of the National 
Association of Broadcasters to enable the public “to know more 
intimately something of the energies and the values and the 
services that go into our daily schedule.” 

I was anxious, in writing this script, to make its opening 
arresting and to present all the facts and conceits in a way that 
would sustain interest. The hardest part of the job, as is usually 
the case in any script of this sort, was the opening. I finally 
hit upon the device of a great chord in the orchestra because I 
knew it would come after the regulation twenty seconds of 
silence following the previous program on the network and that 
if the chord were followed by seconds of silence the listener would 
wonder what this strange business was all about. Once the intro- 
ductory narration was written the rest was quite simple, and I had 
little trouble with the script, even though I was backed right up 
against the deadline of the broadcast. The script was unfinished 
when we went into rehearsal and the apotheosis of radio which 
constitutes the ending of the show was written in a break be- 
tween rehearsals. 

I was conscious in vTiting this script of the necessity to cover 
the subject comprehensively and yet with care to avoid sounding 
like a tract on the subject. I have included within the compass 
of this piece the treatment of such diverse elements as the 
physical and spatial aspects of radio; its properties of speed; its 
penetrability and universality as the medium of entertainment; 
implication of the type of the finest thing done in radio (Shakes- 
pearean drama and symphonic music) ; the unsung but necessary 
contribution of the technical personnel; the importance of free 
speech and the role of radio in the democracy; the extra-mtmdane 
consideration of radio. 

Technically this was a moderately complicated show, requir- 
ing a very careful balance between the component elements 
whenever used simultaneously. The music was very helpfvd in 



500 



SEEMS RADIO IS HERE TO STAY 



giving substance and spirit to the passages concerning Beethoven, 
and the flourishes which Bernard Hermann furnished me for the 
“Hamlet departure” cues were humorous indeed. The montage 
of code coming from twin oscillators and music from the “Mar- 
coni” suite made a very effective fanfare after the deliberately 
tardy opening announcement. 

I placed my principal narrator in “dead booth” and put my 
whisperer (“Hello, Antipodes”) on a filter microphone. I ac- 
cented the speech concerning the freedom of the air with slow 
crescendo on a thunder drum, leading into a vigorous fanfare 
from the orchestra. 

The show was not especially difficult to produce and was 
rehearsed in five hours. All of us seemed to get a lot of fun out 
of it, and I was pleased when the broadcast met with immediate 
and intelligent response, because a reception like this encourages 
further exploration in the direction of similar forms for radio. 

(Presented by the Columbia Workshop, April 24, 1939.) 



501 



Seems Radio Is Here to Stay* 



iaflBOftffiflJMtfl-flja.floeoQQgfl.fl.aooQ a a aflooooQQQOQQOQQooQQ 



MtJSlc. — Sin^r^rief chord; followed by silenee-. 
Narrator. — Do we eome on you unaware, 



Your set untended? 

Do you put down your paper to lift up an ear, 
Suspend what you were just about to say, 

Or stay the fingertip that could snap shut 
The traps of night between us ? 

Were you expecting us? 

Your dial deputized to let us in 
At thirty minutes after ten along the seaboard on 
the East, 

Nine-thirty inland by a thousand miles, 

A mountain’s half-past-eight. 

And dinner dishes still tmcleared on shores that 
face JapaTt?(3 ^'<- 1 

In either case, good evening or good afternoon, 
good morning or good night, 

Whichever best becomes the sector of the sky 
Arched over your antenna. 

We wish a thousand words with you 
Concerning magics that would make a Merlin turn 
pistachio with envy: 

The miracle, worn ordinary now, of just such busi- 
ness as this 

Between your ears and us, and ocean tides of ether. 
We mean the Genii of the Radio, 

Kowtowing to Aladdins everywhere, 

As flashy on the nm as Light, and fvdl of services to 
ships at sea and planes in air and people in their 
living rooms, resembling you. 



* Copyright, 1939, by the Columbia Broadcasting System, Inc. 




502 



SEEMS RADIO IS HERE TO STAY 



All this by way of prologue, Listener; 

And prologues should not be prolonged. 

Let our announcer do what he’s engaged to do: 
Announce 

What this is all about. 

And let there be, when he is done, some interest 
expressed 

By beasses and by strings. 

A little music, as they say, 

To start an- int f ospccAiv e program on its way. 

Announcer. — The Columbia Workshop presents an original 
verse brochme by Norman Corwin, entitled, “Seems Radio 
Is Here to Stay.” 

Sound. — Fade in oscillator i, with symbolic stream of code in 
definite rhythmic pattern, bring in oscillator 2 at lower pitch 
and with contrapuntal rhythmic pattern. Hold both until 

Music. — Orchestra picks up pitch and tempi of both oscillators and 
develops material into heroic fanfare of salutation. 

Narrator. — That will take care of overtures and prologues for 
tonight. 

You’d think that we were warming up 
To something slightly mighty in the way of 
melodrama. 

Magniloquent with love and hate, with sacrifice 
and sin, repentance, and with sound effects; 

Or else you’d think that we were mobilizing moods 
To make way for an epic chronicling a war; 

But no; 

But neither; 

As we said before. 

We’re here to talk of radio. 

Voice. — Say, mister. 

Narrator. — Yes ? 

Voice. — What do you mean by we? 

Narrator. — You wonder at the pronoun wef 
Well, radio’s collective. 

No one in it’s indispensable. 

The proof begins right here : 

Just watch and see 



S03 



BEST BROADCASTS OF 1938-39 



How neatly your narrator is dispensed with. 

Come, take it from me, you who stand near by; 
Speak on, of us and radio. {Pause) 

Narrator. — It’s taken and we speak. 

Let’s start by setting forth 

That it is good to take a swig of fancy every now 
and then, 

A nip or two of wonderment. 

To jag the mind. 

It’s good to send your thoughts excursioning 
Beyond the paved and well-worn alleys of your life 
If only as a form of exercise. 

Especially in wanton days like these. 

The fashion now’s to wonder on such things 
As whether London phrases will displease Berlin, 
Or how the Romans will react 
To the reaction of the French, 

And who’s the enemy of whom. 

And has he guns enough to run a war for more than 
thirty days ? 

At times like these, when headlines blaze their 
blackest. 

And the heavens crackle with short-waved details 
Of Peace’s latest coma, 

There’s little fitness for the luxury 
Of contemplations on the majesty of man. 

And yet it serves a momentary antidote for toxins 
of the soul 

To think away from crises; 

To think that even for man’s monkeying with 
mania and murder. 

He’s still a noble article. 

Bound round by marvels of aU manner. 

Do you remember what it was that Whitman said 
About the miracles ? 

Come in, Walt Whitman, and refresh our memories. 

Come in, and bring with you a snatch of music of 
the spheres. 



504 



SEEMS RADIO IS HERE TO STAY 



Music. — Passage similar in spirit to the eerie variation which 
concludes Holst’s “Planets.” 

Whitman. — {On filter mike) 

I believe a leaf of grass is no less than the journey- 
work of the stars, 

And the narrowest hinge in my hand puts to scorn 
all machinery, 

And the cow crunching with depress’d head sur- 
passes any statue. 

And a mouse is miracle enough to stagger sextillions 
of infidels. 

Music. — Up and out. 

Narrator. — You call these wonders, Whitman? 

Well, they are. And we’ll agree 
They put to scorn most all machinery. 

And yet no field mouse in Vermont, by his own 
talents. 

Ever squeaked a squeak 

Heard with distinctness in Australia. 

Nor has a cow of any breed 

Devised a means of mooing in a three-way conver- 
sation 

With two other cows in distant pasture lands. 

Here is machinery for you, Walt, 

To tickle the imaginings of all the poets in the world. 
We speak now of the innards of this Radio; 

The dials, filaments, and microphones. 

The crystals, coils, and rheostats and rectifying 
tubes 

And towers that inject the sky 
With certain ectoplasms: 

And there where you sit listening, 

O Listener, 

The sentinels inside your set 

Selecting, sifting strands of ether, letting pass 

That only which it pleases you to hear. 

Let’s see the gods do better. 

Dare they vie 

With engineers of radio ? 

Ho ho. It is to laugh. 

The fulminating thunderclaps of Jove 



SOS 



BEST BROADCASTS OP 1938-39 

Sound beepish just a country’s breadth away, 
Whereas the mildest microphonic whisperings, 
Like this . . . 

Filter Voice. — {Whispering) HELLO, ANTIPODES! 

Narrator. — . . . Go spinning round the globe 
Not once, but seven times 
Within the twinkling of a mouse’s eye. . . . 

And on its way . . . mark well the point . . . 
Unswerved by all four winds, 

Dissolving in no mists, 

Unfrozen by contacts with glaciers. 

Undrowned in any deeps, 

And never tangled in a jvmgle’s undergrowth. 

Nor can the frowning Himalayas, range on range. 
But even momentarily 
Intimidate our whispering. 

The Himalayas, did we say ? 

Why, the planet proper! Yes, the earth itself. 

Its ingrown mountains and its scoriae seas 
Still hot and smoking from Creation! 

A solid-enough shape to penetrate. 

And yet . . . 

Filter Voice. — Hello, Antipodes. 

Narrator. — . . . Thrusts through the earth as clean 
As would a guillotine 
Through cheese cake. 

Indeed, the ground has ears! ^ 

Perhaps, for all we know. 

This is telephony with buried listeners. 

If all a planet’s denseness 
Cannot stop our whisperings, 

Will then mere coffin walls? 

We hardly think so. 

We will make our microphone directional 
And speak to whom we please: 

(Calling 
O Beethoven! 



SEEMS RADIO IS HERE TO STAY 



0 Ludwig ! 

Have you got your hearing back ? 

We call your hallowed bones! 

We shout. 

Do we disturb your dust ? 

How restful is your rest there in Vienna, anyway ? 
Death is too long a leisure, we suspect. 

For one of such invention. 

You must be out assembling harmonies somewhere. 
But listen, Master: hear: 

Music. — Sneak in. 

Narrator. — There are more ears attending you tonight 

Then ever you imagined could perceive a note : 

And all at once; this instant. 

More by millions than you ever saw 
In continents of concert halls. 

Your music gets around these days. 

On plains, on mountains and on shores you never 
heard of. 

You are heard tonight. 

Your music beats against a sounding board of stars; 
It flows in raptures down spillways of space; 

It sweeps, precisely in the pattern you set down. 
Across immensity. 

Music. — Up full to conclusion. 

Narrator. — You see, Beethoven? 

You have not been changed 

By so much as a hemidemisemiquaver. 

Let’s turn our microphone 

And hail a hunk of loam in Stratford. 

O Shakespeare! 

William Shakespeare! 

We are calling from a land you’d like to be ac- 
quainted with : 

Four dozen federated states in North America 
Not far from those Bermudas that you wrote about. 
Here are new Venices and Elsinores 
New Athenses and Troys, 

507 



1 



BEST BROADCASTS OF 1938-39 

New Englands and New Londons and New Yorks 
Where you are better known than all the kings in 
Britain’s history. 

Your language trips upon the lips of schoolboys, 
lovers, soldiers, justices. 

And lean and slippered pantaloons. 

You stand with Bibles on our shelves 
And are as often quoted as a savior. 

First Man. — Aah, hanging is too good for him. 

Second Man. — Well, you have to give the devil his due. 

First Woman. — The course of true love never did run smooth. 

Third Man. — It was Greek to me. 

Second Woman. — He eats me out of house and home! 

Third Woman. — Why don’t you send him packing? 

First Man. — It’s a wise father that knows his own son. 

Second Man. — {Oratorical) I pause for a reply. 

Third Man. — It smells to heaven. 

First Man. — I’ll tell the world. 

Second Man. — Sweets to the sweet. 

Third Woman. — I am nothing if not critical. 

First Man. — Dead as a doomad. 

Second Woman. — Uneasy lies the head that wears the crown. 



They put you in a tomb. 



Three-and-a-quarter centuries 
ago tomorrow afternoon 



Narrator 



First Man 
What’s in a name ? 

First Woman 

He loves to hear himself talk. 



Since then, the world has 
cracked a little at the seams, 



Second Man 
Every mother’s son . . . 

Second Woman 
Paint the lily. . . . 

Third Man 

And thereby hangs a tale. 



And nations have been crossed 
and double-crossed 



S08 



SEEMS RADIO IS HERE TO STAY 



Third Woman 

. . . Killed with kindness . . . 
First Man 

Tell truth and shame the devil. 

First Woman 
Truth will out. . . . 

Second Man 
Time out of mind. 

Second Woman 
Stand on ceremony. 

And ancient gods turned gangrenous; 

And yet, there’s not a trace of mold about your poetry; 

Your plays flash undiminished lightnings. 

And more so now than ever, for the theatre has grown 
To take in all the stages of the land: 

All villages and hamlets, 

Cabins hard to get to. 

Houses high on hills, and islands where the ferry plies but once a 
week. 

Lone trapper in the woods 

And ranger on the range 

And lighthouse keeper polishing his glass; 

They all can hear you now within the compass of this voice. 
Your audience has grown. 

They hear you well in Louisville, 

Orlando, Reno, Buffalo, 

Toronto, San Antonio 
And Wheeling and Duluth; 

In Wichita and Washington 
In Birmingham and Utica, 

In Chattanooga, Baltimore, and Colorado Springs. 

Chorus. — {Repeats refrain) 

Narrator. — Shakespeare, it may well flatter you to learn 
All modern actors want to play your Hamlet. 
These much-mingled Americans wish hotly to 
personify a royal Dane 
Created by an English butcher’s son. 



And many generals have died 
in peace 

And many peaceful people died 
in war 

And arts and attitudes and 
sciences grown stale. 



Well, who are we to stand between 
Ambition and the act ? 

One plays him now; forthwith: 

A fragment passionate and murderous 



509 



BEST BROADCASTS OF 1938-39 



And fatal to Polomus. 

Remember it ? 

Attend, for Hamlet enters now the closet of the 
Queen. 

Polonius is hid behind the arras : 

Hamlet. — Now, mother, what’s the matter? 

Queen. — Hamlet, thou hast thy father much offended. 

Hamlet. — Mother, you have my father much offended. 

Queen. — Come, come, you answer with an idle tongue. 



Hamlet. — Go, go, you question 
Narrator 

This Hamlet was not advertised 
tonight, and yet a multitude 
is listening. 

More than they seated at the 
Globe in London, inciden- 
tally. 



And none sits in the balcony. 

The seats of Radio are Row A 
Center, 

And the tickets always compli- 
mentary. 



with a wicked tongue. 

Queen 

Why, how now, Hamlet ? 

Hamlet 

What’s the matter now ? 

Queen 

Have you forgot me ? 

Hamlet 

No, by the rood, not so. You 
are the Queen, your hus- 
band’s brother’s wife; 

And — would it were not so — 
you are my mother. 

Queen 

Nay, then, Pll set those to you 
that can speak. 

Hamlet 

Come, come and sit you down. 
You shall not budge. 

You go not till I set you up a 
glass 

Where you may see the inmost 
part of you. 

Queen 

What wilt thou do? thou wilt 
not murder me ? 

Help, help, ho! 

Polonius {Off) 

What ho! Help, help, help! 

Hamlet {Sound of drawing . . . 

off) 



SEEMS RADIO IS HERE TO STAY 



Narrator 

You were an actor, Will. 

You know a play does not 
spring suddenly from floor 
boards unrehearsed 

Or drop full blown and edited 
from heaven. 

It must be written flrst, then 
cast, 

Directed, and produced; 

And when it’s done by radio 

It must be engineered. 

How else can Hamlet rant in 
in Honolulu 

As he rants right here ? 

This is a question for the engi- 
neers. 



How now! A rat! Dead, for a 
ducat, dead! 

POLONIUS 
O ! I am slain ! 

Queen 

O me, what hast thou done ? 
Hamlet 

Nay, I know not. Is it the king ? 
Queen 

O! what a rash and bloody 
deed is this ! 

Hamlet 

A bloody deed! almost as bad, 
good mother. 

As kiU a king and marry with 
his brother. 

Queen 

As kill a king ! 

Hamlet 

Ay, lady, ’Twas my word. 



Leave wringing of your hands: 
peace ! sit you down. 

And let me wring your heart; 
for so I shall 

If it be made of penetrable 
stuff. 

If damned custom have not 
brazed it so 

That it is proof and btdwark 
against sense. 

Queen 

What have I done that thou 
dar’st wag thy tongue 

In noise so rude against me ? 

Hamlet 
Such an act 

That blurs the grace and blush 
of modesty. 

Calls virtue hypocrite, takes 
off the rose 

From the fair forehead of an 
innocent love 



BEST BROADCASTS OF 1938-39 



Their language has a listenable 
cadence of its own; 

To wit: 



Engineer 

I’m getting a low-frequency 
tone. Will you check to see 
where it’s coming from ? 

Second Engineer 
The S. E. filter is set for cutoff 
at 200 cycles. 



Hastings 

Hastings reporting for Work- 
shop. Studio 3. 10:30. 

Third Engineer 
Columbia Workshop going lo- 
cal, New York state, north 
round robin except RRs ; 
Dixie; RR19; W2XE; and 
pipe to Ed Strong. 

First Engineer 
Say, what’s the nemo point on 
that late show ? 

Second Engineer 

KNX. 



And sets a blister there, makes 
marriage vows 

As false as dicers’ oaths; O! 
such a deed 

As from the body of contrac- 
tion plucks 

The very sotd, and sweet re- 
ligion makes 

A rhapsody of words; Heaven’s 
face doth glow, 

Yes, this solidity and com- 
potmd mass. 

With tristful visage as against 
the doom. 

Is thought-sick at the act. 



Queen 
Ay me ! what act. 

That roars so loud and thun- 
ders in the index? 



Hamlet 

Look here upon this picture, 
and on this; 

The counterfeit presentment of 
two brothers. 

See, what a grace was seated 
on this brow; 

Hyperion’s curls, the front of 
Jove himself. 

An eye like Mars, to threaten 
and command, 

A station like the herald Mer- 
cury 

New lighted on a heaven- 
kissing hdl, 

A combination and a form 
indeed. 

Where every god did seem to 
set his seal. 



512 



SEEMS RADIO IS HERE TO STAY 



Narrator 

Poor Hamlet, he has never been 
so interrupted. 

He is making such a scene be- 
hind our engineers 

It seems a pity to obtrude. 

Obtrude ? 

Why, come to think of it, our 
Mr. Hastings has more venom 
at his finger tips 

Than the assassin Laertes upon 
his sword. 

The turning of a dial can efface 
our Hamlet quicker 

Than a most incisive foil. 

Stand by to hear a Dane evapo- 
rate. 



{Hamlet is faded) 



To give the world assurance of 
a man. 

This was your husband: look 
you now what follows. 

Here is your husband; like a 
mildew’d ear, 

Blasting his wholesome brother. 

Have you eyes ? 

Could you on this fair moun- 
tain leave to feed. 

And batten on this moor? Ha! 
have you eyes ? 

You cannot call it love, for at 
your age 

The hey-day in the blood is 
tame, it’s humble. 

And waits upon the judgment: 
and what judgment 

Would step from this to this? 
Sense, sure, you have. 

Else could you not have mo- 
tion: but, sure, that sense 

Is apoplex’d ; for madness would 
not err; 

Nor sense to ecstasy was ne’er 
so thrall’d 

But it reserved some quantity 
of choice, 

To serve in such a difierence. 



Narrator. — Go, rest now, Hamlet. 

You’ve been around the world and back 
And in a million homes 

And in the tomb of him who gave you utterance. 
We’ve faded you and been discourteous, and that’s 
enough. 

So thanks; so long; good-by; 

We meet again some day 

In some such pleasant studio as this. 

A little music, please 

For a departing royal gentleman. 

Music. — ^‘Hamlet” flourish. 



513 



BEST BROADCASTS OF 1938-39 
Interrupter. — Say, mister. 

Narrator. — Yes, sir? 

Interrupter. — What kind of a radio program is this without 
sound effects ? 

Narrator. — This is a verse brochure, sir. 

Interrupter. — {Puzzled) Well, what’s a verse brochure? 
Narrator. — Why, this is. 

Interrupter. — How very definite. I see I get no satisfaction. 

Narrator. — But you do indeed. You wish some sound effects? 
Let this instruct your curiosity: 

Sound. — In with hoofbeats. 

Interrupter. — Now what is this ? 

Narrator. — A horseman of Apocalypse. 

Interrupter. — But only one ? W^here are the other three ? 

Narrator. — This one is Conquest, and he’s riding harder than 
the other three right now. He has outdistanced them. 

Sound. — Fade under narrator. 

Narrator. — N ow would you hear the bravest bird in all the 
world ? 

Interrupter. — How’s that again ? 

Narrator. — Here is a bird who talks right back to thunder: 
Give an ear! 

Sound. — Great clap of thunder. Bird box triumphant at the end of 
reverberation. 

Naricator. — Now would you hear Niagara’s cataract, roaring 
with 100,000 lionpower? Come in, Niagara. 

Sound. — Feeble stirring of water tank. 

Narrator. — Oh, shame! 

Oh, shame, 

Niagara trickles like three drops of rain 
Which have joined forces down a wandowpane! 
What fell anemia is this ? 

What drouth has been at work on you ? 

Alas, alas, Niagara! 



SEEMS RADIO IS HERE TO STAY 



Interrupter. — Now, now, I’ve heard enough. Which way did 
Hamlet exit ? 

Narrator. — Right through here. 

Interrupter. — I follow! 

Music. — Repeat Hamlet departure cue. 

Narrator. — Good listeners. 

There is a delicacy in the fact 

That all things delicate were once exceeding crude. 

The orchid can be traced to low beginnings. 

And the sweetest scents to illnesses of whales; 

The raw material of men is dust; 

Of diamonds, lampblack. 

The vast mainsprings of Time 
Which keep the very stars to their appointments 
Were forged, no doubt, out of some coarse Galactic 
ore. 

But here’s the point we’re getting to: 

That radio itself, so delicately tuned and timed. 
Transmitted and received. 

Is, too, compounded of base clays and perspiration. 
Plans and graphs and conferences. 

Instruments and agencies whose labor is unheard, 
unseen, unsung. 

They serve the industry and you 
With intimacies equal to the service of the trunk 
unto the tree; 
the wrist unto the hand; 
the service of the letter to the word, 
the figure to the total. 

If you are skeptic. 

Here is testimony swarming from transmitter tips; 
{The following cross-fade into each other on cue) 

Cabinetmaker. — Now you take me, I’m a cabinetmaker work- 
ing in that factory across the river. We make cabinets for 
radio sets. When the season’s good . . . 

Sales Representative. — And naturally, since I am national 
sales representative of i6 of the country’s biggest stations, I 
certainly have every reason to be consulted when the occa- 
sion calls, as this one obviously did . . . 

Sound. — Phone buzzer. 



5^5 



BEST BROADCASTS OF 1938-39 

Operator. — Columbia Broadcasting System, WEEI. Mr. Fel- 
lows ? Just a moment, please. . . . 

Actor. — And I was picked out of 50 in the audition. It’s a 
contract for 52 weeks, and I play the lead. Of course, I will 
be permitted no conflicts, but considering the terms . . . 

Worker. — I am engaged in the manufacture of porcelain water 
coils and porcelain pipe for carrying water to radio tubes in 
transmitting stations. We turn out an average of . . . 

Attorney. — In my experience as a lawyer practicing before the 
Federal Communications Commission, I have many times 
represented applicants for a license to own and operate . . . 

Sound. — T yping. 

Girl. — Yes, sir. I will have this report typed up in about 5 
minutes. 

Salesman. — It really takes very little salesmanship in my line. 
We make the finest antenna impedance-measuring units and 
dielectric capacitators in the business. . . . 

Wife. — No, Bert, I’m sorry. I’m working late on the script 
tonight. You’d better try to exchange the tickets for Wednes- 
day night. Yes. What? Well, the script’s got to be ready for 
typing tomorrow morning, so’s it can go into rehearsal by 
noon. . . . 

Agent. — I’ll get an estimate on the program tomorrow. Talent 
costs, director, music, sound, scripts, and rights. ... It 
sounds like a good show to buy. . . . 

Scrub Woman. — (Slavic accent) Sunday night I have off. I come 
in at 10 every night and wash the floors on the fifteenth and 
sixteenth floors. . . . Sometimes also on the seventeenth. 



Director. — Sound, bring up the train effect behind the narrator, 
and don’t start fading until after cue 118 on page 23. Mr. 
Carpenter, will you please work a little closer to the mike 
in your scene with Miss Kent. . . . All right, everybody. 
From the top of page 22. . . . 

Educator. — And we are adding to the curriculum for the spring 
temxa course in radio writing by the head of the script 
division of . . . 

516 



SEEMS RADIO IS HERE TO STAY 



Recording. — Do you want that recorded on 78’s or 33’s. O.K., 
then, I’ll start to cut on ’phone cue from you. . . . 

Music. — Instrument sounding “A.” 

Conductor. — All right, gentlemen, now, take it from “C,” 10, 
11,12 measures; and I’d like a little more brass, please, and 
much heavier afterbeats. All right ? 

Sound. — Rapping of baton. 

Music. — Lively, popular dance tune . . . fade under. 

Narrator. — Here are the toils, the hopes, anxieties, 

The deals, the overtime put in. 

Wages and hours, clauses in the contract. 
Cornerstones laid down. 

Floors scrubbed and phone calls answered. 
Memoranda written, figures added up. 

Pay checks distributed. 

And inquiries and answers. 

Second Narrator. — Here is the budget and the copyright 

release. 

The time clock and the elevator guard. 
The whistle in the factory proclaiming 
noon; 

The Yes and No and Sorry-try-again, 

The date for limch. 

The swell idea. 

The new man coming in next Monday 
And the program ending on the nose. 

Third Narrator. — Here is transmitter tone 
And resin for the bow 
And sales gone up by twenty-two per cent. 
Here is an industry 

Built out of air and cyclical vibrations. 
Primed high to entertain, instruct 
And serve the common weal. 

So much for our side, here, where studios 
surround. 

And now for you, who sit at home or ride in 
cars 

Or hear us, visiting a friend. 

You are the critic and the judge, 

The mighty ear. 



517 



BEST BROADCASTS OF 1938-39 



The twister of the dial knob. 

You rule the wave lengths 

By selection. 

Do you like it this way ? 

Thank you. This way it shall be. 

You like it that? 

Then that. 

We broadcast not to cabbages and walruses. 

We do not throw our signals at the moon 

But aim for you, and watch to see if we have 
made a hit. 

First Listener. — Say, mister. 

Narrator. — Yes, sir? 

First Listener. — I rather like this kind of program, but my 
wife doesn’t. She prefers drama and variety shows. 

Second Listener. — Well, as for me, I don’t care so much for 
variety shows, but I sure love the baseball games and the 
quiz programs. 

Woman. — Myself, I never miss the symphony. 

Second Woman. — For the last 6 months I’ve been following that 
grand serial that comes right after the news in the morning. 
My son likes to hear the baseball, but I never got around to 
learning what the game is all about. (Laughs) 

Third Listener. — Give me swing anytime. Boy, that Artie 
Shaw is something. In the groove ! Hey, hey ! 

Fourth Listener. — Frankly, I don’t like swing. Most of all I 
like to hear the news come over. Especially Mr. Kalten- 
born’s interpretations. 

Third Woman. — My little boy always wants to hear that cowboy 
program at dinnertime, but my daughter Betty gets into a 
fight with him because she wants to hear that Let’s Pretend 
program . . . the fairy tales. So I finally had to get two 
radios to keep peace in the family. Bil